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Yahoo-Verizon deal said to be near

by Cristina Alesci and Seth Fiegerman for CCN

Yahoo’s days as an independent company may be nearing an end.

Verizon has agreed to pay about $4.8 billion for Yahoo (YHOO, Tech30), according to multiple published reports. Two people familiar with the matter confirmed to CNNMoney on Sunday that a deal had been struck.

The news is expected to be announced on Monday. It would end a sale process that dragged on for months and drew interest from parties as diverse as Warren Buffett and The Daily Mail.

Verizon (VZ, Tech30) has long been viewed as the frontrunner. Reports by Bloomberg, CNBC andRecode said Verizon had emerged as the top bidder. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal said the deal had been completed at $4.8 billion.

The sale is said to include Yahoo’s Internet properties and real estate holdings.

Yahoo declined to comment on the sale; Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Verizon, AT&T (T, Tech30), and an investing group backed by Buffett and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert were all said to be serious bidders.

A sale would put an end to Yahoo’s 21-year history as an independent company. It would also potentially end the tenure of CEO Marissa Mayer after four years of trying and failing to stage a turnaround.

Tim Armstrong, the CEO of Verizon-owned AOL, is widely expected to take over Yahoo if it becomes part of Verizon.

Mayer, like Armstrong, previously worked at Google (GOOG) before taking over the top spot at Yahoo in 2012. She invested heavily in improving Yahoo’s mobile products, expanding its audience through the acquisition of Tumblr and doubling down on premium media content. But Mayer struggled to slow Yahoo’s overall ad sales decline.

On a conference call with shareholders last week after reporting earnings, Mayer made what may have been her final case to investors and the public that she worked to “create a better Yahoo.”

“We set forth a plan to return this iconic company to growth over multiple years, one that would create long-term sustainable growth for Yahoo and deliver value to our users, advertisers, employees and shareholders,” Mayer said. “As we work to conclude the strategic alternatives process, this groundwork will serve as a solid foundation for Yahoo!’s next chapter.”

For Verizon, the deal is about more than just nostalgia. The telecom company has invested in digital content and advertising in recent years, buying AOL and The Huffington Post.

Yahoo, synonymous with the Internet itself in the late ’90s, remains a popular destination that attracts more than one billion monthly active users on desktop and mobile.

Soon Yahoo and AOL may be owned by the same company, proving that the dream of the ’90s Internet is alive in Verizon.

First appeared at CCN

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