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The big news this week, in case you haven’t heard, is the proposed merger between Verizon and AOL. Verizon is going to pay $4.4 billion to acquire all that is AOL — pending regulatory approval. Many of us can still remember the early days when AOL was stuffing their CD’s in mailboxes across the nation but while the company still maintains a dial up service it’s grown to be more than that. It’s cultivated a significant media presence with The Huffington Post, Engadget, and TechCrunch. Of course, Verizon didn’t spend billions of dollars just to buy those aforementioned publishers. Some are saying Verizon might spin off those websites when they acquire AOL. If you want to understand why this deal is going through you need to take a look at AOL’s ad business. To put it simply, AOL has built a popular and profitable marketplace/platform where advertisers can bid on online ad space and Verizon wants a piece of it. The future of AOL, at least according to current CEO Tim Armstrong, will be mobile. In a memo announcing the deal to employees, he writes “Mobile will represent 80 percent of consumers’ media consumption in the coming years and if we are going to lead, we need to lead in mobile.” We’ll be joined this week by Ricardo Bilton, staff writer at Digiday; Robinson Meyer, associate editor at The Atlantic; and Ben Popper, editor at The Verge. Andrew Lih will host and Jefferson Yen will be producing.

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