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Verizon Will Acquire AOL for $4.4B, Mobile Video a Central Reason

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A new paragraph in AOL's Wikipedia entry began today, as Verizon announced that it will buy AOL for $4.4 billion in an all-cash transaction. Verizon will pay $50 per share, which The New York Times reported is a 17 percent premium over Monday's closing share price. AOL will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon once the acquisition is completed.

While the two companies might not seem a natural fit, Verizon is looking to AOL to help further its LTE wireless video and OTT (over-the-top) platforms.

Advertising is central to the deal, as Verizon and AOL will combine to create a scaled, mobile-first platform for ads, Verizon reports. AOL brands include The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, Makers, and AOL.com. As StreamingMedia.com readers know, AOL has been one of the leaders in creating original premium online video.

Mobile video is the central reason why this union is happening, says IBISWorld industry research analyst Sarah Kahn.

"If approved by regulators, the Verizon-AOL deal is expected to trigger a race among other industry players to invest their capital and research on mobile video consumption and advertising," Kahn said. "In the short-term, Verizon is expected to maintain its position as an industry leader in wireless telecommunication, with AT&T close on its heels, especially with the latter’s attempt to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV. The advertising and video race to consumers’ pockets has begun"

Following completion, AOL chairman and chief executive Tim Armstrong will remain in his position as the head of AOL.

“The visions of Verizon and AOL are shared,” Armstrong said. “The companies have existing successful partnerships, and we are excited to work with the team at Verizon to create the next generation of media through mobile and video.” 

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