The European Commission on Wednesday gave its nod of approval to Verizon’s proposed acquisition of Yahoo even as questions about the deal’s fate continue to swirl in the wake of recent data breaches at the Internet company.
EU regulators said a review of the proposed merger found the acquisitions “would not raise any competition concerns given the companies’ moderate market positions” and the “presence of a number of strong players providing such services.” The Commission also indicated it analyzed concerns around a potential concentration of data as a result of the transaction, but determined “a large amount of such user data will continue to be available on the market” after the deal has closed.
The decision came a day before the December 22 deadline set by the Commission for releasing a verdict.
However, the news comes amid questions around whether Verizon will even want to follow through on the deal after back-to-back revelations of massive data breaches at the troubled Internet giant in recent years.
Back in September, Yahoo said it discovered evidence that the user information of more than 500 million accounts was compromised back in 2014. Earlier this month, the company followed up with the disclosure of a larger, earlier breach of data related to more than one billion user accounts in 2013. Yahoo said at the time it believed the incidents were “likely distinct” from one another.
Though Verizon has been tight-lipped about its Yahoo plans following the revelations – saying only it will “evaluate the situation” and “review the impact” of new developments before making any final decisions – speculation has swirled that Verizon might ask for discount or back out of the deal entirely.
But Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has attempted to dismiss the rumors of a renegotiated deal price as “total speculation,” and just before the second hack was revealed AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told Fortune he was “cautiously optimistic” the Yahoo deal would go through.
With or without EU approval, it remains to be seen whether or not Armstrong and McAdam will hold to those positions in light of the damage to Yahoo’s reputation done by the most recent disclosure.
Filed Under: Industry regulations