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Verizon could announce sale of media assets on Monday

The logo of Verizon Wireless. (Graphic: The Desk)

Telecom giant Verizon is close to reaching an agreement with investment firm Apollo Global Management concerning the sale of its media assets, the financial news outlet Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

A sale of the assets could be announced as early as Monday, Bloomberg said, citing anonymous sources who were purportedly familiar with the arrangement.

Verizon currently owns a number of digital products, including AOL, Yahoo!, Engadget and TechCrunch.

A deal for these outlets and others under the Verizon Media brand could fetch as much as $5 billion, Bloomberg reported. Last week, the Wall Street Journal first reported Verizon’s interest in offloading its assets and put the valuation of the media properties between $4 billion and $5 billion.

If the sale goes through, it would put Verizon Media’s digital properties under the same common ownership as Cox Media Group, McGraw-Hill Education, Chuck E. Cheese’s and the grocery chain Smart & Final.

Verizon acquired AOL and its digital properties for $4.4 billion in 2015. Two years later, it plunked down another $4.5 billion to buy the Yahoo! family of products.

The investments were intended to help boost Verizon’s emerging digital advertising division, but they ultimately failed to produce any returns. Over the last few years, Verizon has parted off most of its media properties, including Flickr (acquired through its purchase of Yahoo!, later sold to Smugmug) and the Huffington Post (acquired through its purchase of AOL; sold to BuzzFeed last year).

Verizon is the largest wireless phone company in the United States by subscriber count, and the company is currently working to build out its next-generation 5G wireless network, which has lagged behind some of its competitors.

Earlier this year, the company committed more than $52 billion to purchasing spectrum licenses at an auction run by federal regulators; the licenses will help Verizon reach more people with its 5G wireless service, and a sale of its media assets could help cover some of those costs.