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Seven mulls Yahoo7 buy-out

The parent of Australia’s Network Seven is considering buying out the co-owner of its Yahoo7 joint venture, after it emerged Verizon was acquiring digital and tech firm Yahoo.

Seven West Media and Yahoo have jointly run online entertainment platform Yahoo7 for 17 years – initially as i7 before a 2006 rebrand, but with US-based telco Verizon set to take over Yahoo the ownership structure is up for discussion.

In a statement released today, SWM said: “Seven West Media will have an opportunity, in the period between being formally notified of a transaction and final completion, to consider which options it selects or a combination as may be negotiated with the new owners of Yahoo, Inc that creates the most value for Seven West Media shareholders.

“Until completion of any change of control of Yahoo, Inc, which Seven West Media understands may take six to nine months in the nature of large and complex transactions, it is business as usual at Yahoo7 here in Australia and New Zealand.”

Verizon yesterday unveiled a US$4.83 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s core business, not including the latter’s investments in China’s Alibaba Group.

SWM said it plans to discuss Yahoo7’s future with Verizon. It has “a number of positive options that will define its future development and success in digital media, building on its already highly successful development over the past few years,” according to its statement.

Yahoo7’s offer includes news services, catch-up platform Plus7 and digital video.

SWM stressed that besides Yahoo7, it has “dramatically expanded its digital products, audience and investments”, and claimed to be the local lead in digital premium video in Australia and New Zealand.

This includes a premium 7Tennis service for the Australian Open Series and a new Olympics on 7 service launching next week for the Rio Games. All Seven Network programmes are now streamed live, and it is also a partner in SVOD service Presto.