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AT&T bids for Yahoo with eye on streaming video biz

MUMBAI: US telecom company AT&T has made an offer to acquire Yahoo’s internet video streaming business, countering the bid made by Verizon.

Until now, Verizon was widely considered by Wall Street as the leading bidder to acquire Yahoo. Verizon has expressed interest in combining Yahoo’s huge online audience with AOL, which it had acquired last year for $4.4 billion.

Yahoo is largely expected to serve as an anchor for AT&T’s plan for a bigger push into digital media and streaming video. In fact, AT&T plans to launch three new DirecTV over-the-top video services in the US later this year. Besides, it also intends to reach millennial video viewers through Otter Media, which is a joint venture with the Chernin Group, whose holdings include Fullscreen.

Yahoo has a large global audience of around 1 billion monthly users, but its finances have deteriorated.

AT&T is reportedly interested in Yahoo as a way to bolster its forthcoming DirecTV streaming video service. The telecom service provider has promised to launch its DirecTV-branded pay-TV offerings later this year, which would be available in a variety of configurations, including a free tier.

AT&T has already purchased Quickplay as part of its DirecTV efforts. Yahoo, particularly the company’s advertising business, may fit into a broader strategy by AT&T to increase its advertising technologies and offerings, according to industry analysts.

Yahoo has been livestreaming sports events free, with commercial breaks. Millions of sports fans still come to Yahoo for sports. Yahoo features sports reporting and commentary as well as a hugely popular fantasy sports league.