Oath Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong has recently been considering a number of new avenues for Verizon's digital media and advertising unit, including the possibility of buying out the largest wireless carrier in the United States, The Information reports, citing sources close to the industry veteran. Nothing of substance yet stemmed from those ambitions and the current focus of both Oath and its parent is growing the former's presence across a number of industries, with advertising being the main focus of that plan.
Mr. Armstrong is said to have suggested the possibility of Oath going independent during talks with unnamed media industry executives, as per the same report. Should the 47-year-old pursue that course of action, the next major decision he would have to make is whether to push for Oath to be spun off as a new public company or attempt to take it private with new equity backing. Some venture capitalists believe the latter option would be more desirable, though a public listing may be a more realistic scenario, especially as it would allow Verizon to keep a sizeable stake in Oath in a more straightforward manner.
Created through the acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo, Oath was presented as Verizon's major statement of diversification efforts meant to offset concerns about the stagnation in its core wireless market which is now highly saturated. The establishment of the unit was helmed by CEO Lowell McAdam who's now set to retire next month and will be succeeded by former Ericsson chief Hans Vestberg, an executive whose expertise and experience is largely tied to the wireless sector and one that may prioritize 5G and networking solutions at the expense of content, some industry watchers previously speculated. In a statement provided to The Information, Mr. Armstrong declined to indulge speculation about a potential spin-off, maintaining he's still focused on building Oath into a digital media and advertising juggernaut Verizon envisioned, noting that the process of synergizing AOL and Yahoo's assets is still only halfway done, with much work being left to be done.