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Verizon says Yahoo name isn't going away

With established brands like Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance, the acquisition still makes a lot of sense, says Verizon executive Marni Walden.

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Verizon executive Marni Walden defends the Yahoo deal.

CTIA

Verizon is treading carefully with Yahoo, but still wants to seal the deal.

"The deal makes strategic sense," said Marni Walden, the executive vice president of business innovation for Verizon and the person who pushed for the acquisition. "We won't jump off of a cliff blindly."

She continues to believe there's value in the Yahoo name, noting that it won't go away if Verizon completes its acquisition. Brands like Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance still draw plenty of eyeballs, and offer the kind of audience that Verizon and AOL lack, she said during a keynote session at The Wall Street Journal Digital conference on Wednesday.

Her comments come just weeks after Yahoo disclosed a 2014 breach exposed at least 500 million accounts, making it the worst hack in history. Shortly after, reports found that Yahoo had participated in a government program to sniff user emails, further eroding trust. Verizon said this all had the potential to cause a "material impact" to the deal, which could mean Yahoo takes a reduced price or the deal falls through altogether.

Walden, however, didn't entertain any scenarios where a deal would fall apart, opting instead to skip the question.

Her comments echo her boss's sentiment, shared during a fireside chat with CNET on Monday at the Intel Capital Summit in San Diego. Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said Verizon had brought in its own people to help Yahoo with its investigation, and had just begun to get information. Like Walden, he believes the deal still makes sense.

"We certainly like to see this resolved quickly," he said. Walden said she expects to see a resolution within 60 days.

Walden envisions brands like Yahoo Mail and Finance joining AOL properties such as Engadget and Techcrunch. The company is also investing in original content targeting younger audiences, and airs many of those videos on its Go90 mobile video service.

That's the key difference between AT&T and Verizon's strategy. AT&T's decision to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion is a move to grab existing customers. Verizon is betting on where the market is headed with younger viewers, Walden said.

McAdam said on Monday that he doesn't see any big media acquisitions. Walden agreed, but added that Verizon could scoop up smaller companies.