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No, Yahoo isn’t going away like you think

It was reported Monday night that Yahoo will be renamed to Altaba and that CEO Marissa Mayer would be resigning from the board. These headlines from around the web (and our own, admittedly) can be a bit misleading with all the corporate legal affairs surrounding them. This all stems from Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo for $4.8 billion but for the average internet user, things won’t be changing that much.

The deal is only for part of Yahoo and does not include stakes in Alibaba or Yahoo Japan. This leaves Yahoo split in two with one part owned by Verizon and the other one untouched. Verizon is buying most of the web portion of Yahoo that most people are familiar with. Unless Verizon wants to destroy Yahoo even further, there’s no reason to think it will totally abandon the name. Yahoo.com and its various websites as we know them now will likely remain in their current form under Verizon. Marissa Mayer will also likely stick around in some form of leadership capacity, but that decision is up to Verizon.

So what’s up with this new Altaba name? The name stems from Alibaba, an extremely valuable asset for Yahoo. Since Verizon won’t own all of Yahoo, there is still a (much larger, but less visible) zombie company left behind. This holding company is effectively a collection of stock and patents, so calling it Yahoo going forward wouldn’t make sense. The situation is similar to Google and Alphabet. Google still exists like we know it, but the holding company is known as Alphabet.

Rather than formally splitting up and selling all of the Yahoo that remained, it worked out better for tax purposes to go forward in this convoluted way. The Verge summed it all up nicely in a TL;DR:

1. Verizon is splitting Yahoo in two

2. It’s buying the Yahoo we all know

3. Yahoo (and likely Mayer) will still exist at Verizon

4. The remaining portion of Yahoo is a holding company

5. The holding company is being renamed Altaba

6. Mayer will not sit on Altaba’s board of directors

This is all still up in the air until the Verizon deal is finalized, but there is some growing uncertainty there following high profiles hacks. If Verizon drops out, none of this will even matter.

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