Friday, October 21, 2016

Time Is On My Side

If you thought the Comcast-NBC/Universal deal was bad for the American media consumer and the landscape of competition in a wolrd where information comes from fewer and ewer sources, wait until you see the new AT&T Time Warner merger.

AT&T Inc is in advanced talks to acquire media conglomerate Time Warner Inc, and a deal could come as early as this weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported. 
The talks around the cash-and-stock deal have come together quickly, the Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. 
Time Warner's shares were up 8.2 percent at $89.77 in late morning trading. AT&T was down 2 percent at $37.87. 
Time Warner, which has a market value of about $65 billion, is an attractive target because of its premium cable channel HBO, the CNN news network, film studio Warner Bros and other media assets. 
AT&T, which has a market capitalization of about $238 billion, has already made moves to turn itself into a media powerhouse, buying satellite TV provider DirecTV last year for $48.5 billion. 
Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes has not been willing to sell in the past. The company rejected an $80 billion offer from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc in 2014.

AT&T and Time Warner were not immediately available for comment.

So a short list of what AT&T would control after this merger:

  • CNN
  • HBO
  • The CW Network (well, half of it, the other half belongs to CBS turns out)
  • DirecTV
  • AT&T Mobile
  • BellSouth
  • Southwestern Bell
  • New Line Pictures
  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Cricket Wireless
  • Bleacher Report
  • DC Comics

All under one company's control.  Yeah, this seems like a great idea.  Sign me up, right?  What if the new company decides to tell Comcast and Charter "Hey, we're only going to carry HBO on DirecTV from here on out."  Maybe that won't happen.  Maybe it will.  But these guys would control a gigantic pile of movies, sports websites, two mobile phone companies, a whole crapload of baby bells, a TV network, a ton of cable networks and DC Comics on top of all that.  Who needs cable when you have mobile, satellite, and a whole lot of "last mile" utility poles?

Now you tell me that's a good idea.

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