Verizon’s top lawyer says it now has reason to believe Yahoo’s recently disclosed data breach has a “material” impact on Verizon’s pending $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo. That leaves open the possibility that Verizon could seek a change in the price or other terms.
A Verizon spokesman confirmed that Craig Silliman, general counsel at Verizon, made the comments to reporters during a roundtable discussion Thursday. “I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material and we’re looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact,” he said.
Silliman didn’t say whether Verizon will seek a price reduction, but added that Yahoo will have to convince Verizon if it doesn’t believe the breach of at least 500 million users’ email accounts had a significant impact on its business.
Earlier this week, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said his company was investigating but vowed Verizon wouldn’t walk away from the deal.
Yahoo said in a statement Thursday that it is confident of the company’s value and that it is still working toward integrating with Verizon. The deal was expected to close by the end of March 2017.
The security issue could worsen Yahoo’s problems: Users were already declining, and so was revenue. Verizon had wanted Yahoo’s popular sites to combine with AOL’s advertising technology to help it build a digital-ad company that could compete with industry behemoths Google and Facebook. Verizon bought AOL in 2015.