Despite the rumors, the deal between the communications provider Verizon and the struggling IT company Yahoo could be actually happening.
The European Commission has issued an official approval of the long-awaited acquisition earlier today, concluding that the proposed deal was unlikely to threaten the competition in the industry and the European Single Market. The acquisition that has been the subject of heated discussions since July is valued at approximately $4.83 billion, though the definitive price is still undecided.
"The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise any competition concerns given the companies' moderate market positions, the limited increments brought by the proposed transaction and the presence of a number of strong players providing such services. Both parties have user data that can be used for advertising purposes. It excluded any competition concerns because a large amount of such user data will continue to be available on the market after the transaction," the Commission wrote in the preliminary statement.
The Commission's approval helps to clear the uncertainty around the acquisition as Verizon (NYSE: Verizon Communications [VZ]) has been considering to demand a significant discount off the price tag or withdraw the controversial deal altogether. Back in October, Verizon called for an additional round of the negotiations with Yahoo's executives after the details of the company's participation in hacking and spying activities had been leaked. More specifically, Yahoo (NASDAQ: Yahoo! [YHOO]) failed to inform Verizon's M&A committee that over 500 million of its user accounts had been stolen in 2014, with a significant amount of personal information obtained by the hackers. The hack remained unknown to the public up until October while Verizon believed it had right to know this information prior to making any arrangements.
Likewise, the second Yahoo's user hack was revealed last week, what only further undermined the deal's success in the eyes of investors. According to Bloomberg, Yahoo admitted that it suffered from another hacking attack that swiped personal information of more than 1 billion Yahoo accounts in August 2013, including 150,000 accounts of the U.S. government employees. After the announcement, Verizon's legal team said that they were working towards either "killing the deal" or significantly renegotiating the amount of the purchase.
However, Yahoo is still thinking positive:
"We are confident in Yahoo's value and we continue to work towards integration with Verizon," Yahoo's spokesperson told CNBC.
Last Thursday, Yahoo shares slumped 6.5% to $38.25 on the news of the second security breach. As of writing, Yahoo trades at $39.2.