What You Should Know About A Defunct Yahoo, Altaba And Marissa Mayer's Future Role

By now you might have heard that Yahoo is changing its name to Altaba following its sale to Verizon Communications, and that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is stepping down from the company's board of directors. News of Yahoo's fate spread like wildfire last night after Yahoo posted a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) detailing the changes, though there are a few things that need clarifying. One of them is that Yahoo probably is not going to disappear.

Let's back up a moment. Verizon agreed to purchase Yahoo's search engine and web properties for $4.83 billion back in July of 2015. Not included in the pending deal are the investments that Yahoo's shareholders made, including a 36 percent share in Yahoo Japan and a 16 percent stake in Alibaba, along with its patent portfolio. That part of Yahoo does not have any products, services, or employees and is just a collection of investments.


That is the part of Yahoo that is being renamed Altaba, and going forward it will essentially become an investment company. Unconfirmed reports say the name is a combination of the words "alternate" and "Alibaba." Verizon is not purchasing this portion of Yahoo, so the name change should not have any effect on web users who are used to going to Yahoo to check their mail, look up sports scores, and everything else.

So what is to become of Yahoo's services and branded web portal? Assuming the deal with Verizon goes through and further assuming plans have not changed since July, Yahoo's brands such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports will be integrated with AOL, which Verizon also owns. They will continue to exist alongside AOL's properties, or at least that was the plan when Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo several months ago.

Marissa Mayer

As to Marissa Mayer, though some believe she steered Yahoo's ship into rocky waters and ultimately caused it to capsize, she will resign from Yahoo's board, along with nearly half a dozen other board members, but remain as CEO. The remaining directors will govern Altaba in its new venture as an investment firm.

The last thing to note is that nothing here is written in stone. Yahoo's biggest hurdle is completing its deal with Verizon and that is not a foregone conclusion. At one point after agreeing to purchase Yahoo, Verizon reportedly tried to back out of the deal following the disclosure of major security breaches at the search giant and participation in a government spy program. There was also chatter of Verizon trying to renegotiate the $4.83 billion price tag that was originally agreed upon.

What we're left with are more questions than answers. The two biggest ones are, will Verizon go through with its agreement to purchase Yahoo, and if so will it stick to its previous plan of retaining the Yahoo brand under Marissa Mayer's continued leadership? Despite any reports attempting to definitely answer those questions, we simply do not know at this point.