How will Verizon sale affect Yahoo center in Lockport?

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FILE – The Yahoo logo is displayed outside of offices in Santa Clara, Calif., in this Monday, April 18, 2011, file photo. Verizon is selling the segment of its business that includes Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal. Verizon said Monday, May 3, 2021, that it will keep a 10% stake in the new company, which will be called Yahoo. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)– It is a sure giveaway that you are likely older than 50 if you have an AOL email account. An early giant of the Internet’s popularity and Yahoo was the web portal known for its search engine.

Verizon is selling those two legacy companies but what could it mean to hundreds of Verizon workers in Lockport?

Verizon Communications is selling off its Verizon Media unit for 5-billion dollars, substantially less than the sum of its parts. The media giant bought Yahoo’s internet properties for nearly 4-and-a-half billion dollars in 2017 and AOL for slightly less in 2015.

“AOL was really one of the first companies to really make penetration with the Internet when it started in the mid-1990’s. Obviously not a survivor,” said Tony ogorek, president of Ogorek Wealth Management.

At one time AOL, known in the early years as America Online, was the most popular Internet portal in the country, but Tony Ogorek, President of Ogorek Walth Management says, it just got outhustled by the competition. With Verizon selling off its Verizon Media portfolio, Ogorek suspects this could raise the stakes for wireless broadband.

“Who is going to be able to be first in the broadband race for 5G? The United States is woefully behind the rest of the world in 5G.”

Among Verizon Media’s properties are the Yahoo data facilities in Lockport. While the plants have been closed during the covid pandemic, we have been reaching out to see if the hundreds of workers might be affected by the sale. Ogorek says Verizon’s new strategy of growing its wireless business might have little effect on Western New York since the battlefield seems to be dense population areas.

“So the question is going to be: How long is it before we get a significant rollout of 5G at the speeds that other countries are able to book 5G at ?”

Officials predict the sale of Verizon Media to Apollo Global Management should close in the second half of this year. Verizon is maintaining a 10-percent stake in the venture which will keep the Yahoo name.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.

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