Posted 01 March 2018 - 07:14 PM
It's interesting to think these big named companies have control of something so prevalent to us and our generation. It makes you wonder what they want with it.
Posted 01 March 2018 - 08:18 PM
I learned recently that FUNimation acquired Crunchyroll. Apparently AT&T has ownership of Crunchyroll by 80%. That's not a buyout I was aware of.
It's interesting to think these big named companies have control of something so prevalent to us and our generation. It makes you wonder what they want with it.
Funimation didn't acquire Crunchyroll, but they did reach a deal to share licenses. Some shows are typically available on either one or the other, and the deal is more of a partnership than a merger or acquisition. However, Sony Pictures Television did recently acquire a majority stake in Funimation. Considering how Crunchyroll (And I think Funimation as well) both have apps available on PlayStation 4, it doubles down on the ease of access for these apps and websites. Additionally, Sony Music (I need to stress the particular division because it's separate from Sony Pictures owning Funimation) owns Aniplex, giving Sony more of a role in the anime industry.
While AT&T and the like are cable providers, their primary reason for the merger is that it's vertical, since Time Warner provides content. Why they want it is also intrinsic to why the Department of Justice is against letting AT&T have Time Warner. If AT&T acquires a content provider, then they would be the primary distributor of that content. Some channels are included in cable packages, but the concern is that AT&T will charge other prices from competitors and consumers for that content.
It risks monopolizing. Sure, you could still get Time Warner's networks and the like from other cable providers, but you'd likely have to pay more, just because AT&T would charge you more. The Department of Justice expects AT&T to do something shady like that, so now it's AT&T's responsibility to either make concessions, or prove that they would not do such a thing. So far, their arguments have boiled down to "Well you let Comcast buy NBCUniversal, so you should let us do this, too!" The problem with this argument is that AT&T is equating themselves with Comcast, which ignores both that it wasn't easy for Comcast, and that AT&T is arguably more dangerous in this circumstance than Comcast was.
On the other side of things, this deal has been in the works since October 2016. Both companies have spent a lot of time and money into making this deal go through, and they'd have to pay more if this deal fails. What's weird about this is that AT&T would seem to have to pay Time Warner more than the other way around, so you'd think that Time Warner would get money for AT&T essentially wasting their time, but now it seems like Time Warner would actually suffer from this, and would have to divest their assets.
There seems to be some confusion regarding DC Comics, but they've been a subsidiary of Warner Bros. since the late 60's and early 70's, before Time Warner was formed. So DC is likely going to survive as a part of Warner Bros., but I'm curious if Warner Bros., Turner, and HBO could survive on their own.
Posted 02 March 2018 - 11:13 AM
Sony Interactive Entertainment is going to be restructuring itself on April 1st. https://gematsu.com/...-transformation
While I imagine that SIE will be focusing on this for its own sake, this coincides with Kaz Hirai stepping down when the new fiscal year begins. Maybe there's nothing to it worth talking about much here, but I'm still curious if Sony might be undergoing further changes once all these executive shufflings have settled in.
Though one last division of Sony is Sony Mobile. They've recently claimed that they're not for sale, but the mobile division was the only one to report a loss for the larger company in the last financial quarter, and the upcoming CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, has previously slashed the mobile division's budget. So while Kaz Hirai and other current executives may want Sony to keep a lot of its divisions, I imagine Yoshida may end up selling some of those divisions instead.
Comcast's role in Disney's attempt to acquire Fox is… interesting. See, Fox already owns 39% in Sky plc, and has been trying to acquire the remaining 61%, but that has faced regulatory concerns. If Disney succeeds in acquiring Fox, they would subsequently acquire Fox's stake in Sky, although it's unknown if Disney actually wants Sky.
That said, Comcast has made a bid for Sky. https://www.reuters....r-idUSKCN1GD5G2
What's interesting about this is that, rather than Comcast competing with Disney for Fox, now it seems that Comcast is competing directly with Fox, this time for Sky, so I'd say Comcast's goals have shifted. So the four companies to look at in this particular bidding war are Disney, Fox, Sky, and Comcast. The bottom level of this the bidding war for Sky.
While Meredith has continued to absorb Time Inc., Time's UK division has been sold to private equity firm Epiris. http://wwd.com/busin...orp-1202595958/
Posted 02 March 2018 - 07:25 PM
The AT&T-Time Warner trial may be delayed by one day, with March 19th possibly necessary to present any final pre-trial motions. https://www.reuters....y-idUSKCN1GE2VO
No final decision was made, so it's unknown if it will begin on the 19th or the 20th. These next three weeks are going to be fun.
Posted 04 March 2018 - 01:46 PM
So, to give a rundown on what's happened so far, remember that we once had AOL-Time Warner as a single conglomerate.
The merger has long since been regarded as disastrous in hindsight, so that merger split up, with AOL having been bought out by Verizon, which also bought Yahoo, so AOL and Yahoo have been merged to create Oath.
Time Warner Cable has been bought by Charter Communications and rebranded as Spectrum.
Time Inc. was spun off, and then bought and then by Meredith Corporation, which is selling off Time's international divisions.
Certainly the "Time" part of Time Warner is meaningless now. Even though the company retained it after Time Inc. was spun off, it really highlights how little is left.
I suspect that Warner Bros., Turner, and HBO would not be bought out by the same companies. If they're sold, they will likely be separated. I would be surprised if any of the companies who've bought the other former assets of AOL-Time Warner acquired these three. I suppose they could all be independent, but with how popular mergers and acquisitions are right now, I doubt that they would last long.
There's also what AT&T could do. Would they simply walk away from this merger altogether, or would they be willing to settle for at least one of these individual assets?
Posted 05 March 2018 - 03:35 PM
This is a fairly long article, but I highly encourage giving it a read, since the AT&T-Time Warner merger will remain the primary subject of this thread until we reach a resolution from the trial. https://seekingalpha...avid-vs-goliath
I will note that Quad 7 Capital has investments in AT&T - which they mention in the article - so keep in mind there may be some bias in the analysis, but they do well to consider the possibilities.
The conclusion they draw is that AT&T will buy Time Warner, and the worst-case scenario is that they may need to sell of certain assets, such as AT&T selling DirecTV or Time Warner selling Turner Broadcasting. It's a far more generous possibility than the merger failing completely, and Time Warner splitting up.
Personally, while I'd be interested in what may happen if Time Warner were to break up, the merger is primarily about how powerful AT&T is. Whether this merger succeeds or fails, I would like AT&T to make concessions.
Turner Broadcasting CEO John Martin openly disparaged DirecTV and DirecTV Now last month. https://www.nbcnews....-t-time-n847821
His most damning criticism is that DirecTV Now makes no money from it's subscribers, which is bad for business.
AT&T is also planning to make a public offering for DirecTV Latin America. https://www.cnbc.com...rica-stake.html
While it's selling a specific division of DirecTV rather than the entire division, this seems to at least offer some steps towards AT&T downsizing, and focusing on their business.
Though... with Time Warner's name losing half of it's meaning, I think what I would want is for Time Warner to be restructured and consolidated. Elevate Warner Bros. as the "main" company, and Turner Broadcasting and HBO are reorganized to be subsidiaries of Warner Bros. You keep the same three companies, but clearly emphasize Warner Bros.
Posted 06 March 2018 - 11:17 AM
So, after the attempt to obtain records of potential communications between the White House and the Department of Justice on potential interference in AT&T-Time Warner merger, a group called the Protect Democracy Project is suing for similar records, this time regarding the Disney-Fox deal.
The key difference is how these suits regard the current administration's role the trial. The belief was that Trump was unfairly obstructing the AT&T-Time Warner merger due to his bias against CNN, while the theory in this case was that he may be too lax on the Disney-Fox deal, as he may be seeking to aid a political ally in Rupert Murdoch.
Regardless of whether or not this particular suit is successful, especially since AT&T's own attempt was blocked, we're still in a position where I can't see much progress on the Disney-Fox deal until after the AT&T-Time Warner merger trial concludes. Disney and Fox also seem to be waiting until then, since the expectation is that their merger will likely be judged based on how AT&T and Time Warner turn out. Between this suit and the Sky bidding war, it seems like we are seeing developments around the deal, but still nothing solid.
Posted 09 March 2018 - 11:08 AM
We have ten days until the merger trial begins, not accounting for the potential delay.
Former DOJ officials request an inquiry into Trump's possible interference in the lawsuit.
Although Richard Leon blocked AT&T from obtaining records, the issue remains that there's still the appearance of such potential interference. While I don't believe that the interference was on the level that they claim it was - although the motive is certainly believable - this is the elephant in the room, and it needs to be definitively proven whether or not there was such an interference.
Frankly I think there is a lot more to talk about, and all parties involved have presented their own cases outside of this potential interference. I hope for this particular aspect to be resolved so that the rest of the trial can continue accordingly.
Posted 11 March 2018 - 11:48 AM
Looks like the final briefs have been submitted for the AT&T-Time Warner merger trial. Of note, it also seems that AT&T is no longer pursuing the point about potential interference of political bias.
The trial begins a week from tomorrow, and will last until some time in April.
Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:23 PM
Richard Leon rejects the DOJ's request to exclude a commitment from the AT&T-Time Warner trial, meaning that AT&T and Time Warner could agree that they would not withhold channels or raise prices.
So far Richard Leon seems to be approaching this with an even hand.
Posted 15 March 2018 - 01:24 PM
The AT&T-Time Warner merger trial will be delayed two days due to scheduling issues.
Which means the trial begins in six weeks, unless another issue comes up.
I've been leaning more towards this merger blocking, primarily because while AT&T will mostly likely remain unscathed - although it would still be closer to a monopoly - I do want Time Warner to break up, and in particular, if merger such as Disney buying Fox are hinging on the outcome of this trial, then this could be damaging to that merger as well.
I'm not so sure about HBO or Turner, but Warner Bros. stands to be a big loser from this. Ready Player One is shaping up to be both their biggest movie of this month, as well as their biggest failure this month. Between the potential blows from Ready Player One bombing, or at least falling short of expectations, as well as this merger being blocked, then if blocking this merger means Time Warner may split up, I can't imagine any of the individual companies thriving on their own. Even if they could, I think the failure of the merger and potential split of Time Warner would be seen as weakening those three, and potential buyers of the divided assets would be vultures picking up what's left.
That said, I would not be against any of the individual companies subsequently being bought out by other companies, though it would then come down to who is buying what.
Turns out the trial will start on Monday, it's just that the first two days will be focused on objections to exhibits. The trial will last for 6-8 weeks rather than the previously estimated 6-8 weeks, which means this could last until at least May.
Posted 18 March 2018 - 09:56 AM
This is when mergers start to get too crazy. If companies are allowed to build near-monopolies, anything could happen...
And with an industry as important as the film industry...
All of the creativity and risk would be sucked out of it. The theater would be a boring place.
When companies get too big, this is when the govt has to put their foot down and say, "No, this is preventing a free market, we're gonna say no."
Of course, this may sound naïve coming from me, especially given the posts I made in General that didn't get locked, but that's just my $0.02.
Posted 18 March 2018 - 10:33 AM
I'll have to look more into detail, but in particular, a major issue with theaters decades ago was that film studios owned theater chains. That's since been prevented, though now it seems that converse is true, such as National Amusements being a majority owner of CBS and Viacom.
It's why I'm really worried about Disney owning Fox. They each have their own subsidiaries, but it's a case where the film studios are own by even bigger companies already, so the film industry, while sizable in its own right, seems to be "secondary" in the eyes of these conglomerates. I can't recall the last time Disney has ever used Touchstone, and while I could see Fox serving as a "replacement" of sorts for Touchstone, it's possible that Disney owning Fox could simply cause certain divisions of Fox to halt as well.
The AT&T-Time Warner merger trial finally begins tomorrow. I do want to keep this thread going even after that trial is resolved, but this is absolutely what the companies that would be discussed in this thread are hinging on.
Posted 19 March 2018 - 09:51 AM
The AT&T-Time Warner merger trial has at long last begun. http://variety.com/2...ger-1202729935/
As stated before, today and tomorrow will be focusing on evidentiary objections. While this could mean this is more of a preliminary stage, we'll have to see how this trial will progress on Wednesday.
Posted 19 March 2018 - 07:05 PM
I do want to be clear about something. Some of these articles lately - and likely, some of the ones I will be posting in the foreseeable future - will mention whether or not Trump's disdain for CNN is a factor in this trial. While I believe that Trump personally opposes the merger because of CNN - he has at least stated in the past that he opposes the merger, though I don't believe he's ever mentioned CNN as a factor for his opinion - I don't believe he is acting on that here. Some logs of communications between the DOJ and the White House were presented, and Richard Leon blocked AT&T from seeing more of the logs, with the decision that the communications offer nothing suggesting that there is a political bias here. Since then, AT&T seems to have dropped any pursuit of proving such a bias, so I believe that the idea that "The DOJ blocked this because Trump hates CNN" is no longer a factor.
Any mentions of that potential influence seem to be mentioning the overall progression of the pre-trial discussions and hearings. However, neither the DOJ or AT&T seem interested in discussing Trump's role. If he comes up during the trial - and given the anticipated length of this trial, that is certainly possible - but for now, I would say that if anyone is reading this thread, I wouldn't exactly be betting the results of this trial on whether or not Trump had any influence, or how Richard Leon may view Trump.
As far as CNN is concerned, I believe the network is being viewed not on its own, but as a part of Turner Broadcasting. In that sense, I would direct to this article.
Two main points here.
1. The article mentions that the DOJ suggested that AT&T should either divest DirecTV, or exclude Turner Broadcasting from the deal. This has come up a while ago, but AT&T rejected that particular proposal, and it seems that it came up again. This is something that I would expect to continue being a possibility here, but regarding CNN, I believe that comes down to what happens to Turner Broadcasting as a whole, rather than anyone specifically targeting CNN.
2. The DOJ's main argument now hinges on the possibility of AT&T unfairly raising prices, and one of AT&T's lawyers, Daniel Petrocelli, requested for some of the DOJ's evidence on that point to be rejected, but it seems that the DOJ is standing by that argument.
Richard Leon has also stated that he would allow more witness testimonies if necessary, due to the importance of this trial.
Continuing with Petrocelli, he disagreed with the use of emails from AT&T employees, arguing that it offers too broad of a view. Some of the evidence is being contested as essentially being irrelevant to this trial, while AT&T has seemingly declared a lot of their documents to be "confidential", raising concerns over whether such documents should be revealed in open court, or if the court should briefly be closed to the public to allow the release of that confidential information, although Leon opposed the latter suggestion.
The DOJ could attempt to trap AT&T with their own words, quoting AT&T as having said “have the incentive and ability to use (and indeed have used whenever and wherever they can) that control as a weapon to hinder competition.” They also use a DirecTV quote that expressed similar concerns, though the main challenge against using that quote was that it was written prior to when DirecTV was itself acquired by AT&T.
While I believe the DOJ could make strong arguments, I also worry that they - and to be fair, AT&T or Time Warner as well - could rely on a gish gallop, focusing more on overwhelming this case by simply providing an excessive amount of evidence, albeit without much regard for whether or not they're truly relevant or could make a coherent case against the merger. Which thankfully makes these first two days of the trial all the more necessary, to determine whether or not much of this evidence is truly relevant.
Personally, I would rather this trial reach a conclusion early within the projected timeframe, because the current deadline for the merge is June 21st, which begs the question of whether or not AT&T and/or Time Warner would agree to delay the deadline a third time. With these evidentiary objections, I believe that should make it feasible to have this trial end sooner rather than later. There is still be evidence to be either admitted or rejected tomorrow before the opening statements can properly begin on Wednesday.
Regarding the previous rumor that, if this trial were to result in the merger being blocked, and as a consequence, Time Warner would break up and sell off its three primary divisions, I've forgotten that, since the source of that rumor is Umberto Gonzalez, that's a rumor that should be taken with a massive grain of salt, as Gonzalez is a highly unreliable source. While a possible breakup of Time Warner is a possibility that I do not wish to rule out, the legitimacy of the claim is dubious at best, so for now, let's assume that Time Warner could survive regardless of the decision made in this trial.
Edited by Phantom Roxas, 19 March 2018 - 07:14 PM.
Posted 21 March 2018 - 11:59 AM
A lot of articles mentioned some of the same information, so I wanted to limit it to just a couple.
The opening statements in the AT&T trial will be delayed until tomorrow, due to a snowstorm prompting the court to be closed for today.
Given that the primary argument against AT&T is that buying Time Warner could reduce competition, they have pointed to FAANG (A collective term referring to Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) as tech giants, and argued that Time Warner's content needs to stay relevant alongside FAANG, so rather that reducing competition, they argue that they would be adding to the competition.
However, the Justice Department's lead litigator, Craig Conrath, challenged that notion, saying that consumers pay for satellite, cable, and Netflix, so it's more of a complement, rather than a competitor.
With the arguments based around what may happen if the merger succeeds, Richard Leon has suggested that he would probably need a crystal ball if the current trial comes down to who is the best guesser. It's a lot more speculation with not enough hard facts.
Posted 23 March 2018 - 10:36 AM
So, I'm not putting too much into this rumor just yet, but supposedly, Apple may buy Sony Entertainment. I should stress that this isn't the entire company, just the umbrella that owns Sony Pictures and Sony Music.
Does Sony still have rights to Spiderman?
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