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Media conglomerates and mergers


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#1
Phantom Roxas

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AT&T is currently making a bid to acquire Time Warner, and Disney and Fox have held talks for Disney to potentially acquire 21st Century Fox.

 

The primary argument in favor of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is that it would be a vertical merger, with AT&T and Time Warner having such different focuses that this would not reduce competition, and would actually encourage it. Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal has been set as the precedent for why AT&T's bid should be allowed to succeed.

 

Incidentally, from a pop culture standpoint, Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox could potentially grant Disney control over the majority of their Marvel characters, while AT&T acquiring Time Warner means AT&T would own DC.

 

This thread is meant to form a discussion on what kind of mergers would be acceptable, or why they shouldn't be allowed. Feel free to present any other mergers or acquisitions that have caught your attention lately. How much do these companies risk forming monopolies?


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#2
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#3
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#4
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Sorry there, I can give my two cents.

 

 

Under a free market, there's nothing that really stops Disney from making the purchase, but I can't say I like to see such companies get as big as they do, because as far as media goes, there is kind of a threat of monopoly. Disney's a huge company, and the number of other major media producers in the North American region is getting slim.

 

And, honestly, as someone with aspirations towards the creative industry, I don't like this. If a company as big as Disney manages to gain as much control over that market, it just makes it more and more difficult for people, such as myself, to be able to break into the industry and tell the stories they want to tell the way they want to. Heck, if they do manage a monopoly or a near-monopoly, why should they even bother looking towards upstart creators and supporting their projects? Seems easier and a lot less risky to absorb them into the machine and have them just pump out installment after installment for whatever property is their most popular.

 

It's just, honestly, bad news. More companies means more options means more opportunities, and the bigger something like Disney gets the more it will require government intervention to prevent a monopoly and promote a diverse market, and that's honestly another can of worms in and of itself.


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#5
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I have similar aspirations in the creative industry, so I can sympathize with you. I highly doubt that I'll get my foot in the door at Disney any time soon, so I'd like to start somewhere else, but when large corporations - not just Disney - buy out smaller companies, it eliminates some of those options, so you're not sure where to start. It wouldn't just create a monopoly, but also homogenize the industry in that it will become a routine celebration of the same properties ad infinitum, while smaller stories risk being overlooked.

 

Thankfully, government involvement is still in play, and the Department of Justice is the last major obstacle between AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Granted, there are some suspicions regarding the motive for that - such as the suggestion that Time Warner should forego CNN - but ultimately it does seem that there is a careful process involved, so it's not like AT&T can just wave several millions of dollars and then they just purchase Time Warner they same way you would buy a candy bar.

 

Since 21st Century Fox was one of the initial topics I cited, I'll offer an update on that story here. Comcast is now in the running as well to potentially acquire 21st Century Fox, though it's currently unknown to what extent that may be. https://www.newsaram...out-report.html

 

Incidentally, the article points out something interesting. Chris Arrant describes the talks with Disney as being for Fox's "non-news and non-sports assets", likely meaning 20th Century Fox. And yes, there is a distinction between the two, wth 21st largely being the overall umbrella company that Rupert Murdoch founded following the split with News Corporation, while 20th is the specific film studio.


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#6
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It's been rumored for a while now, but since it seems to be more official now, I'll reiterate it here.

 

The Justice Department is suing to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. https://www.nytimes....ner-merger.html


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#7
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Apologies for another bump, but I think a few things have happened over the past week that warrant this.
 
https://www.nytimes....h-brothers.html
 
Charles and David Koch backed Meredith Corporation's bid to acquire Time, Inc. Meredith has been eyeing a potential acquisition of Time for a while now, and recently made an attempt earlier this year, but that fell through. It seems that Meredith is finally getting what they want, though the Koch brothers seem to be the more notable figures in this transaction.
 
http://variety.com/2...uit-1202626286/
 
The main subject of the AT&T / Time Warner deal at the moment is pretty much the Justice Department's lawsuit, which is currently scheduling court dates. There will be a status conference on December 7th, though AT&T and the DOJ are currently arguing for the date of the trial itself.
 
http://variety.com/2...him-1202625893/
 
Additionally, Randall Stephenson is trying to make concessions so the deal can go through, without having to sell off any assets, such as DirecTV or CNN.
 
(Mostly I find these deals in particular fascinating because AOL-Time Warner broke up several years ago, and now the various assets that once made it are being acquired by separate companies.)
 
And finally, it seems that Disney and Fox have resumed talks for Disney potentially acquiring certain assets from Fox.
 
http://deadline.com/...ory-1202214838/
 
This line from the opening paragraph stands out a lot.
 

Radio silence right now from both studios, and given how Disney made the Marvel and Lucasfilm deals under the cone of silence, if this happens we’ll probably only know it when it’s announced.



Seems like the current state of things is that AOL-Time Warner's legacy keeps getting smaller and smaller, while Disney is getting bigger.
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#8
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There have been a few articles over the past couple of weeks, but I'll post the most recent ones, as I think those will more easily give an idea of the current situation.

 

http://variety.com/2...ers-1202634210/

 

Disney and Fox have each selected their own teams of bankers who will oversee the legal details. This suggests a major move on both companies, and it seems like a deal could be reached as early as next week.

 

The main concern is that, while it might be nice that Marvel could get back the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, there are still more properties and franchises under Fox's control. Properties that truly are theirs first, and really have no place belonging with Disney. Touchstone Pictures has laid dormant since last year, so it could be a good place division to release Fox's films through, but it doesn't change that this is a major consolidation. AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner was expected to be cleared on the grounds that it's a vertical merger, and it's still facing legal problems. I highly doubt that a horizontal merger such as this would go any easier.

 

Though the one thing to keep in mind is that 21st Century Fox would be dividing its assets, with some being sold to Disney, and the rest would presumably be folded back in with News Corp.

 

This infographic was published in 2011, so it's horribly outdated. However, it also shows how there has been a significant change in media. While I'm glad that Fox is only given up certain assets, I understand why people are concerned of Disney becoming a growing monopoly. Disney needs to be willing to make some concessions. Under Bob Iger's time as CEO, Disney has bought Marvel and Lucasfilms, and now potentially those assets from Fox. So I have to wonder how much of this growth we can attribute to him. At least he may be stepping down in 2019.

 

 

Moving on to the AT&T-Time Warner deal…

 

http://money.cnn.com...date/index.html

 

In the aforementioned status conference, the date has been set for the trial: March 19, 2018. The current deadline for closing the deal is April 22, but the trial may not meet that deadline, so AT&T and Time Warner may need to delay their deadline yet again. I'm not sure what more there is to say on this deal that hasn't already been said. The trial is pretty much the last obstacle before the merger, so unless anything major changes, we probably can't expect much more until then.


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#9
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The Disney/Fox deal is going through.

 

https://thewaltdisne...-billion-stock/

 

I was expecting it to be something like 21st Century Fox would sell the majority of its assets to Disney, but would remain its own company, but this approach actually makes far more sense. 21st Century Fox is selling off the assets that Disney is not getting, and it's those assets which are becoming their own independent company, while 21st Century Fox itself is acquired by Disney. In a way, this is similar to when News Corporation split into News Corp and 21st Century Fox, so now it seems to be 21st Century Fox that is splitting up even further.

 

Additionally, Bob Iger is staying on as CEO until 2021. As I've said, he's led the acquisitions of Marvel and Lucasfilms, and I neglected to mention Pixar before. 


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#10
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Not much to say regarding the Disney/Fox deal at the moment. There are supposed rumors that Apple may Disney in a few years, but that's really just speculation at this point. So far, any deals regarding Disney seem too early to really say much about beyond "It's happening."

 

Right now, it seems that AT&T and Time Warner's deal is the primary focus, as it may become the new precedent for how future mergers are handled. Regarding that merger, AT&T and Time Warner have extended their deadline for the merge to June 21. http://variety.com/2...ial-1202647896/

 

The trial is still scheduled for March, so delaying until June will probably give them plenty of time to sort out any lingering questions, depending on how the trial goes.


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#11
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Meredith's acquisition of Time surprisingly faced little to no opposition, so the deal should be finalized sometime next month. https://www.streetin...e/13683974.html

Although Republicans have currently shut down the government, Judge Richard Leon will not be delaying the trial for the AT&T / Time Warner merger, which is still set for March 19th. The current issue is obtaining pricing data in previous vertical mergers, as the major source of contention to this particular merger is how they may raise prices. http://variety.com/2...own-1202670132/

 

Not seeing too much about the Disney/Fox deal. Sure, there are articles regarding whether or not it's a good idea, but I'd rather stick to articles detailing the stages of each merger that I've been talking about.


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#12
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Outside of the usual mergers I talk about, CBS and Viacom are considering the possibility of merging the two companies back together. This one seems a little bit easier, if only because both companies are majority owned by National Amusements. http://deadline.com/...ger-1202276578/

 

The DOJ's suit against the AT&T-Time Warner merger is currently in the pre-trial stages. A hearing on Friday seems to have gone well, and there will be another on the 16th. https://www.reuters....s-idUSKBN1FM2PH


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#13
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There's not much to this yet, but I think it's worth bringing up here.

 

Kaz Hirai is stepping down as CEO of Sony Corporation. https://www.theverge...shida-kaz-hirai

 

Sony Pictures has let go three of their top executives in an effort to streamline their business operations. http://variety.com/2...ngh-1202689087/

 

With major shakeups like these, it begs the question of whether Sony may sell their film division to another company. Current Sony Pictures chairman and CEO, Tony Vinciquerra, believes that Sony Picture needs to get bigger, or else they may be bought out. So, while there are no actual talks of a merger at this stage, it is something I'm going to keep an eye on for this thread.


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#14
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Apparently Comcast is pursuing a new bid for Fox, in spite of Disney's plans to acquire Fox's assets. https://www.reuters....s-idUSKBN1FW05C

 

This decision is largely going to hinge on the success or failure of the AT&T-Time Warner deal. I should note that Comcast owns Universal, so while it may not be immediately apparent, this still raises similar concerns as Disney acquiring Fox, in that two of the major film studios could become one.

 

Personally, I would rather see Comcast acquire New Fox, but I think New Fox is meant to be a holding company for the assets that Disney and Comcast don't want, or can't get.

Meredith Corporation has since completed their purchase of Time Inc. This seems to be a very decisive merger, in that Time is now being folded in with Meredith, and will even be rebranded under the Meredith name. Time Inc. as we once knew it is now gone. It's… actually a little underwhelming how this particular acquisition seems to have come with little fanfare.


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#15
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Apparently Comcast is pursuing a new bid for Fox, in spite of Disney's plans to acquire Fox's assets. https://www.reuters....s-idUSKBN1FW05C

 

This decision is largely going to hinge on the success or failure of the AT&T-Time Warner deal. I should note that Comcast owns Universal, so while it may not be immediately apparent, this still raises similar concerns as Disney acquiring Fox, in that two of the major film studios could become one.

 

Personally, I would rather see Comcast acquire New Fox, but I think New Fox is meant to be a holding company for the assets that Disney and Comcast don't want, or can't get.

Meredith Corporation has since completed their purchase of Time Inc. This seems to be a very decisive merger, in that Time is now being folded in with Meredith, and will even be rebranded under the Meredith name. Time Inc. as we once knew it is now gone. It's… actually a little underwhelming how this particular acquisition seems to have come with little fanfare.

kochs own it too


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#16
Phantom Roxas

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That's a little different. The Koch brothers certainly backed the deal, but beyond that, it doesn't seem that the Kochs actually own anything now. Meredith has also stated that the Koch brothers will have no control or influence over Meredith in spite of their funding. http://www.latimes.c...1126-story.html


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#17
Phantom Roxas

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DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim will be called to the witness stand during next month's trial for the AT&T-Time Warner merger, in particular to determine whether or not the lawsuit is influenced by Donald Trump's bias against CNN.

 

https://www.washingt...m=.af1330b8bb54

https://www.bloomber...ime-warner-case


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#18
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https://www.axios.co...18c71329af.html

 

Judge backs DoJ


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#19
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While it's not one I've talked about in this thread, there were some plans to sell the Weinstein Company, but those plans have since fallen through, and the company has declared that it will file for bankruptcy. http://money.cnn.com...ptcy/index.html

 

To actually talk more about things rather than just posting news, I'm personally rooting for Sony Pictures to be sold off. I've been wanting it since at least 2014, mostly because it just seems like Sony Pictures is constantly desperate to hang on. Spider-Man and James Bond seem to be their only successes, with James Bond in flux right now, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 did so poorly for Sony that they needed to make a deal with Marvel to produce Homecoming. While we're getting Into the Spider-Verse and Venom, both of those films seem more like Sony still trying to exploit the film rights in a desperate bid. Jumanji did well for them, but it still just feels like Sony's successes are the exception rather than the norm.

 

I mean, it's not like you can expect a studio to crank out blockbusters all the time, but with Sony, it feels like they keep middling around, and Tony Vinciquerra is especially wary that the studio may got bought out. While I don't expect anything significant, if anything, until Kaz Hirai steps down in April, I believe that, since Sony Corporation is a much bigger company, they might end up divesting at least some of their assets. I think Sony Pictures is being streamlined to make it an "easy" buy.


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#20
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TheWrap is the main source here, but I think ComicBook.com goes into more detail. http://comicbook.com...omics-for-sale/

The AT&T-Time Warner merger trial is this month. However, after the last blow to AT&T, things are not looking to be in AT&T's favor. As such, if the merger fails, then Time Warner may split up Warner Bros., Turner, and HBO. I don't believe this would necessarily hurt either of those three companies, but it does seem like Time Warner is going to fold either way. Either it becomes absorbed into AT&T, or it's divided.

 

The trial is on the 19th, so we have less than three weeks to see what will come of this.


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