Technology 3 mins read

Vertical Mergers: AT&T Succeeded With Comcast to Follow

Net Neutrality died and a day later, a federal judge approved the unprecedented acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T. With Comcast just putting in a new bid for 20th Century Fox, have we entered a new era of mega-conglomerate vertical mergers?

AT&T and Time Warner's merger sets a precedent within American businesses where oligarchies and monopolies are entirely allowed. What does this mean for the future of American media? | Image by Andrey_Popov | Shutterstock

AT&T and Time Warner's merger sets a precedent within American businesses where oligarchies and monopolies are entirely allowed. What does this mean for the future of American media? | Image by Andrey_Popov | Shutterstock

AT&T’s approved acquisition of Time Warner could lead to major changes in America’s telecommunications services. Now, Comcast’s latest bid to acquire 20th Century Fox could spell the same for America’s media.

A federal judge seemingly enthusiastically approved AT&T’s bid to purchase Time Warner for $85-billion USD this week. The judge provided a cryptic explanation that experts are still trying to decipher.

Some suggest that it comes down to “old media” needing a “fighting chance” against things such as streaming media. Of course, those familiar with how media works know that cable in its current state will not be a part of an Industry 4.0 future.

Despite this, the judge’s ruling stands and sets a precedent moving forward for other companies that merging services and having monopolies in certain industries is okay.

This news also comes after Net Neutrality was effectively killed (for real this time).

Will Comcast be the next company to attain a major acquisition in 20th Century Fox?

Time Warner and AT&T logos | awfulannouncing.com

Dangerous Precedents and New Ventures

We know that Disney and Comcast both want to purchase 20th Century Fox.

Previously, this kind of vertical merger might have violated longstanding anti-trust laws. But after the approval of the AT&T and Time Warner merger, who knows what might happen over the next few years.

That T-Mobile and Sprint merger might also get approved for the same reason as the AT&T deal. What I mean by that is “older” companies justifying a shrinking business pool for consumers with the explanation of “it’s getting harder to do business”.

In light of the fact that Disney owns Lucasfilm and Marvel now, some might shudder at them owning yet another huge catalog of intellectual property.

But is one of only two major internet service providers owning it any better?

In the end, it may come down to choosing the lesser of the two evils between these companies | Comicbook.com

Comcast’s new Billion Dollar bid

Disney previously put in a bid of around $50-billion for Fox’s TV and Film properties, as well as their international distribution.

Comcast has now made a counteroffer of $65-billion for all of those same things. Comcast’s bid also includes a $2.5-billion “break free” clause that results if the deal gets blocked in a federal court.

The ISP amalgamation already owns NBC news parent company NBCUniversal. Attaining Fox would also give them major control of the Hulu streaming platform.

That means that Comcast, noted for throttling customer internet connections, would then have a major role in operating how one of the foremost streaming platforms works.

Disney’s acquisition of Fox means that The Fantastic Four and the X-Men might return to the Marvel universe. Personally, if I have to choose between oligarchical overlords, I’m going with that option because we all want and need a Wolverine/Deadpool movie.

We will update this story as news progresses and the bidding wars continue.

What worries you about what these vertical merger precedents mean for the future?

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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