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Data privacy and cyber-security considerations in M&A deals

Jaclyn Jaeger | April 18, 2017

Data privacy and cyber-security risks play an increasingly prominent role when evaluating a potential corporate merger or acquisition target. Knowing how to manage these risks could mean the difference between a smooth M&A transaction and one that quickly turns into a liability nightmare for the buyer.

Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo in February 2017 provides a recent, high-profile example. Verizon ultimately decided to move forward with the acquisition, even after discovering that Yahoo had suffered two massive data breaches, compromising over one billion user accounts.

In a Feb. 21 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, detailing an amended deal, Verizon said Yahoo will retain 50 percent of “certain post-closing liabilities arising out of governmental or third-party investigations, litigations, or other claims related to certain user security and data...

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