Verizon Communications : advertising & marketing assignments

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Verizon Communications is one of the two leading national US telecoms businesses (alongside arch-rival AT&T). It was formed in 2000 from the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE Corporation, and has strengthened its position further with other acquisitions including long-distance operator MCI in 2006 and regional mobile service at Alltel at the beginning of 2009. The group offers a full range of communications services. However its most significant business is Verizon Wireless, for many years a joint venture with UK mobile giant Vodafone. After five years as America's #1 mobile service by subscribers, Verizon's lead in this fast-consolidating sector was overturned in 2008 by the new AT&T. As a result, in 2013, in one of the largest deals to-date in corporate history, Verizon agreed to buy out Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for a whopping $130bn in cash and shares. The group has also pushed aggressively into the broadcast market with a huge investment in fibre-optic technology, which provides the platform for its FiOS ultra-highspeed broadband and TV service. It claims the largest 4G high-speed wireless coverage in the US, and is a leader in the national roll-out of 5G. Matching AT&T's push into satellite TV with a corresponding move into online content, the group acquired one-time internet pioneer AOL in 2015 for $4bn, followed by Yahoo in 2016 for $4.8bn. Those units were merged under the name Oath, but that bet - a risky one - has not so far gone as smoothly as Verizon had hoped. The group scaled back expectations for this unit during 2018. Hans Vestberg, former head of Swedish tech group Ericsson, succeeded Lowell McAdam as CEO of Verizon in 2018. At the end of 2017, Verizon had 116.3m retail wireless connections, the vast majority on post-paid contract. The company had just under 7.0m broadband connections, and still served 12.8m fixed line voice lines, mostly in key urban markets. Most rural connections have been sold on to Frontier or other suppliers. Total revenues for 2017 were $126.0bn of which more than two-thirds was generated by wireless. Oath contributed $6.0bn. Group net income was $30.1bn.

Capsule checked 25th October 2018

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Who competes with Verizon? Verizon competes in the national wireless segment against three other national suppliers - AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint - as well as a dwindling collection of regional suppliers. Competitors in internet services include cable companies Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox. Verizon's main competition in regional local communications comes from alternative suppliers, such as cable companies or internet companies offering IP telephony. See Telecoms Index for other companies

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Historical profile information for Verizon

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Nov 2018: Verizon's new CEO Hans Vestberg unveiled a corporate restructuring that will, among other changes, involve the elimination of the unloved Oath digital media brand. Under the new structure, Verizon's fixed line and mobile operations are being merged and then resplit according to customer type. Former Verizon Wireless CEO Ronan Dunne now becomes head of the new Verizon Consumer Group, while Tami Erwin will head up Verizon Business Group. Oath and its multiple sub-brands including Yahoo, AOL and HuffPost become units of Verizon Media Group under Guru Gowrappan. Infrastructure is the domain of a new Global Network & Technology division under CTO Kyle Malady.

Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Sep 2018: Tim Armstrong, CEO of Verizon's online division Oath, will depart the company at the end of the year, and will be replaced by Guru Gowrappan, currently president & COO. Armstrong joined Verizon in 2015 following its acquisition of AOL, which he had led for the previous six years. Following the purchase of Yahoo two years later, Armstrong oversaw the consolidation of those two businesses to create Oath. Earlier this year, he was rumoured to be under consideration as a potential successor to Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP, though he denied any interest in that role.

Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jun 2018: Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam will surrender that role in August, though he will remain executive chairman until the end of the year, and then become non-executive chairman. His successor will be Hans Vestberg, a former CEO of Swedish tech group Ericsson, who joined Verizon a year ago as chief technology officer. John Stratton, Verizon's president of global operations, who was also under consideration to become CEO, announced plans to leave the group later this year. McAdam told the WSJ that Vestberg is "a better match for where Verizon was going to go. With 5G in front of us, we are at a huge inflection point. Whoever is at the head of the business should be able to see that through."

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Oct 2017: US telecoms giant Verizon has revealed that the massive data hack at Yahoo, whose acquisition it completed earlier this year, affected even more of the web pioneer's customers than previously thought. Yahoo warned last December that as many as 1bn accounts had been compromised. That was already the biggest cyber breach in history, but Verizon now says that the actual number was three times higher than that: all 3bn of Yahoo's customer accounts. Yahoo is now part of Verizon's Oath digital media division, alongside AOL and other brands. In a separate development, Verizon's top media executive Marni Walden, who currently oversees Oath and led the acquisition of Yahoo, is to depart the company. The move is not connected to the cyber breach, but is thought to reflect group CEO Lowell McAdam's recently stated intention of remaining in his role beyond his 65th birthday in two years time. Walden had been considered a potential successor. She will not be directly replaced, with her duties being reallocated to other executives, not least Oath CEO Tim Armstrong, who will now report directly to McAdam.

Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Jul 2017: The New York Post newspaper ignited considerable buzz over the holiday weekend with a report that Verizon might be considering a bid to acquire The Walt Disney Company. There were plenty of provisos attached to the story, but such a move would make sense in the light of AT&T's planned but yet-to-be-approved acquisition of Time Warner. So far at least, AT&T's push into content has appeared more assured than its telecom rival's. DirecTV and Time Warner are unquestionably more dynamic acquisitions than Verizon's equivalent buys of past-their-prime AOL and Yahoo. Disney would be a significant step in the right direction. Its shares ticked upwards by almost 2% in the wake of the story, suggesting that investors may have given it at least some credence.

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