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Yahoo hack gives Verizon pause in $4.8B deal

Verizon is leaning toward finding Yahoo's huge data breach was "material," which could end up being a deal-breaker.

Verizon may be rethinking its $4.8 billion deal for Yahoo.
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Verizon's $4.8 billion takeover deal for Yahoo may be doomed.

The wireless carrier's general counsel has told some reporters, including the Washington Post, that Verizon is leaning toward declaring Yahoo's huge data breach a "material event." That likely means Verizon wouldn't have offered as much money -- or made a bid for Yahoo at all -- had it known about the hack earlier. The Washington Post said Thursday the decision likely will halt the acquisition.

"I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that impact is material," said Verizon General Counsel Craig Silliman, according to the Washington Post. "And we're looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact if they believe it's not. They'll need to show us that, but the process is in the works."

A Verizon spokesman, when asked if a "material" finding kills the acquisition, said "the statement stands on its own. Nothing more."

Yahoo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Verizon in July said it would buy Yahoo for $4.83 billion and merge it with AOL. Since that time, Yahoo has faced a lot of bad press. Earlier this month, news reports said the US government had Yahoo surveil user emails for intelligence information. And last month, Yahoo disclosed hackers swiped personal information associated with at least a half billion Yahoo accounts, marking the biggest data breach in history. Last week, reports said Verizon has asked Yahoo for a $1 billion discount on its acquisition price. Then earlier this week, Verizon said it was investigating whether the hack had a material impact.

First published October 13, 12:26 p.m. PT.
Update, 12:40 p.m. PT with Verizon comment.