US Telecom giant Verizon is set to purchase the whole of America Online (AOL) for a staggering 4.4 Billion in US Dollars, or roughly around Php 198B. That includes their digital marketing and advertising services, and three of the world’s most influential online and offline publications that consist of Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post.
The said move is a Verizon’s strategy to bolster its online presence, improving its LTE wireless video, content, and Over-the-top services, and support the continuing expansion of their Internet of Things (IoT) platform. The transaction will take the form of a tender offer followed by a merger, with AOL becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon upon completion.
Now, why do this matter? It’s certainly not the first time that a major communications network has bought out a corporation that hold tech website divisions, as AOL, as an internet provider, bought these publications during its heyday. While it has been mentioned that AOL will be running independently but will be relying on Verizon’s distribution channels to widely circulate content from its brands, and seeing that these three publications pose unbiased views on issues such as Net Neutrality, can the new merger affect their editorial independence? We’re set to find that out soon.