Verizon was founded as Bell Atlantic, which was one of the seven Baby Bells that were formed after AT&T Corporation was forced to relinquish its control of the Bell System by order of the Justice Department of the United States. Bell Atlantic came into existence in 1984 with a footprint from New Jersey to Virginia, with each area having a separate operating company (consisting of New Jersey Bell, Bell of Pennsylvania, Diamond State Telephone, and C&P Telephone).
Verizon Communications, otherwise known as Verizon, is an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate and a corporate component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is based at 1095 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, but is incorporated in Delaware.
As part of the rebranding that the Baby Bells took in the mid-1990s, all of the operating companies assumed the Bell Atlantic name. In 1997, Bell Atlantic expanded into New York and the New England states by merging with fellow Baby Bell NYNEX. Although Bell Atlantic was the surviving company, the merged company moved its headquarters from Philadelphia to NYNEX’s old headquarters in New York City. In 2000, Bell Atlantic acquired GTE, which operated telecommunications companies across most of the rest of the country that was not already in Bell Atlantic’s footprint. Bell Atlantic, the surviving company, changed its name to “Verizon”, a portmanteau of veritas (Latin for “truth”) and horizon.
In 2015, Verizon expanded into media ownership by acquiring AOL. Two years later, the company acquired Yahoo! Inc.; both AOL and Yahoo were amalgamated into a new division known as Oath.
As of 2016, Verizon is one of three companies that had their roots in the former Baby Bells. The other two, like Verizon, exist as a result of mergers among fellow former Baby Bell members. One, SBC Communications, bought out the Bells’ former parent AT&T Corporation and assumed the AT&T name. The other, CenturyLink, was formed initially in 2011 by the acquisition of Qwest (formerly named US West). Its Verizon Wireless subsidiary is the largest U.S. wireless communications service provider as of September 2014, with 147 million mobile customers.