Comcast and 21st Century Fox in Focus After AT&T-Time Warner Approval

Comcast could announce its own offer for 21st Century Fox’s assets on Wednesday, triggering a bidding war with Disney for a chunk of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.


Comments: 40

  1. How quickly we've forgotten how the breakup of the original AT&T (aka Ma Bell) was to bring about a new era of competition. Now we're right back where we started from with corporate monopolies and no anti-trust enforcement. Ditto for the airline industry. This is just the latest action that will guarantee the additional transfer of wealth to the corporate "malefactors of great wealth." At least that will be the case until a 21st century progressive version of Teddy Roosevelt arrives to break them up and reinstate a progressive income tax.

  2. I'm not so sure competition has been limited - use your ma bell analogy. No one uses landlines anymore, and there are 4 major wireless providers, with several dozen lower cost options to choose from.

    The airlines weren't making money as recently as 5 years ago, now they are.

    Media has plenty of new competitors: Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix, Hulu... the list goes on.

    Only the strong survive.

  3. There are still people who have landlines in areas where cell service is spotty. My landline has much better quality than my cell phone, plus there is the added bonus of being able to use my landline to locate my misplaced cell phone. Landlines are not dead.

  4. Actually, when the airlines were deregulated although they turned into cattle cars, prices did go down.

    With telecom deregulated, we have the worst of both worlds, outrageous prices and lousy service.

    The average person doesn't need to fly but they do need telecom to live. I say re-regulate telecom.

  5. BIG Robber Baron investors are competing to control media and other communication around the world. WE THE PEOPLE lost no matter who "wins".

    Regan set the stage for this hostile financial takeover of every aspect of our lives when he gutted anti-trust laws and de-funded regulatory agencies. Bush Sr, Bush Jr and Clinton - and Alan Greenspan - fed the hogs with more of their "laissez faire" economics and the Robber Baron takeover/destruction of OUR regulatory agencies.

    Now The Con Don and his Robber Baron brethren are trying to "close" the deal and turn OUR lives over Israel, Russia, Turkey and other "strong men" operatives in the International Mafia Top 1% Global Financial Robber Baron/Radical religion Good Old Boys' cabal.

    HIStory is one of constant hate-anger-fear-Lies,Lies,Lies-WAR-death-destruction-rape-pillage-plunder. It has no place in OUR lives anymore.

    WE THE PEOPLE - average people around the world who do not want to see OUR lives destroyed - must step up and make it OUR story of relative peace and social/economic justice for ALL human beings. One way to do it is to get OUR money out of "markets" and put it in local banks/credit unions who want to preserve OUR communities and way of life. Another way is to use OUR retail/consumer dollars with local brick and mortar establishments. The most important tool we have is OUR vote. Please, Good People of the world, use it and use it wisely.

    NOW is the time.

  6. Recall years ago when telecommunications was a government run type company (affectionally called "Ma Bell").

    Then there were cries to break up the "government" monopoly and it was split into regional telecommunications companies.

    The regional companies were then slowly but surely bought out and combined into large private corporations.

    Now we are close to a "private" monopoly but this is okay.

    The myth started with Ronald R is that anything done by government is bad and anything done by private companies is good. So we should not worry about the latest court decision...what could go wrong...?.

  7. the opinion allowing the at&t merger to proceed was written by a judge appointed by george w. bush; ie., it is a "republican" antitrust opinion (despite the participation of trump's doj).

    the judge's admonition against the plaintiff seeking a stay pending appeal is highly inappropriate and reflects obvious lack of objectivity.

    consumers, suppliers, competitors, etc--and the public, generally, should hope the doj, with the assistance of many states, should appeal this decision.

  8. The current Department of Justice?

    Are you kidding??

  9. The reason for the Justice Department’s refusal may be personal, but the court filing was filled with facts. Consolidation results in monopoly and higher prices. Will the people’s representatives pass a new Sherman act to break up and prevent any future consolidations to keep up competition ? Or will they be take money from their corporate masters and let people suffer ? That is the question.

  10. @KnownNonVictim: Agreed, there is at least some factual basis for the DOJ's argument, but it was always going to be a bit difficult (see other articles on vertical vs. horizontal mergers). Trump made this task even more difficult by exhibiting his clear personal bias and bad faith against one of the parties while turning a blind eye to the expansion of that party's rivals (like the Sinclair Group). It was so bad that it went beyond mere perception. The court actually had to weight the extent of the government's bias against CNN, which is always going to weaken any argument.

    It also does not help that the DOJ cannot credibly disentangle itself from Trump's personal opinions. He has made no secret of disparaging the idea of an independent DOJ and calls for investigations into/prosecutions of his personal rivals/enemies all the time. When Trump declared before any known DOJ analysis (as did Giuliani) that he would block the merger, it naturally raises the question whether the DOJ would have considered the facts to warrant intervention in the absence of Trump's personal biases. Some may say yes. Some may say no. The point is that the appearance of impropriety is only in play because of Trump himself.

  11. "Since the Time Warner bid was announced, AT&T has spent $8.2 million on lobbying. It had 27 outside lobbying firms and was ranked eighth in total lobbying spending." [1]

    Dear NY Times:
    Who got what, when and where of those $ 8.2 million ? Which officials pocketed those dollars ? List them!

    Follow the money

    [1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/technology/att-time-warner-merger.html

  12. Who were they lobblying? elected officials or judiciary or "regular" (appointed) civil servants?
    This amount of money is outrageous!

  13. Interesting. Trump and his enablers call this a bad deal for consumers, however, they had no objections in allowing Sinclair Broadcasting to gobble up Tribune Media thus making Sinclair the primary, if not, sole local broadcaster in 72% of local markets. It must be noted that Sinclair Broadcasting pushes Trump's agenda via falsehoods at a bigger rate than FOX News. Could that have been a factor in allowing the deal to go through?

  14. Good point and that shouldn't have happened either, but slightly different. Those two could work in conjunction with each other (im being generous). In this case it would be like Ford getting the right to make and sell all the cars, own all the gas stations and own every mile of road.

  15. The past has shown that the creation of these mega conglomerates has lead to the crushing of any competition and higher costs for the consumer.


  16. How is the "$85.4 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal" NOT a monopoly? At the end of any given day going forward, these companies will continue to rack in the BILLIONS on the backs of consumers like myself as my options for cable and phone dwindle down to almost nothing while my costs continue to rise almost as fast as my salary continues to shrink. So much for choice and the free market place.

  17. How is it not a monopoly? Simple: AT&T has competition in all of its legacy markets (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile in wireless; Comcast, Charter and Verizon in broadband)... Time Warner produces content. Warner Bros., CNN, TNT all have competition.

  18. Between this and the promised end of net neutrality, don't be surprised to see a big movement towards local entertainment, an actual rise in print publication and general nose-thumbing at the telecom industry.

    The internet is what is because it is a technology used to sidestepped the money-grubbing, monopolizing and censoring. What's to say this won't happen again? Don't be so smug in thinking in can't and won't -- or something completely different. The money-chasers will have run to keep up just as they have with the good ol' internet. That's OK.

    As far as entertainment goes? Why not make it more local and live -- I'm not talking bands here, I'm talking everything else (as one direction to go in). With the way things are going, the Republicans taking over the world that progressives and moderates built -- let them have what they think they are winning. We'll move on and they'll continue to try and catch up.

    Robert De Niro's sentiments, exactly.

  19. This is another step down from democracy to loss of human rights. The 50-year destruction of working family economics which has fostered autocracy is due to the elimination of competition by our re-formed monopolies.

    Capitalism and Democracy are synergistic. Each depends on the other for their own health. But Capitalism requires competition. Without it, we have monopolies which reduce working family purchasing power through price gouging. These ill gotten profits are then used to create oligarchs and by influence in Washington.

  20. AT&T & Time Warner, then mergers continue... the next one with company A & B, then company 1 & 2 and so on...

    The merger is approved. The combined company will be on its best behavior for a period of time.

    Then there will be massive layoffs of employees with terms like "synergy" "duplicative work" and "cost savings" being thrown about. High level execs will reap the rewards. Those who have been displaced will be lucky to find any new work which will compensate them at their previous level. But no one will care.

    There will be no major changes for consumers/customers in the beginning and people will be lulled and forgetful. The new company will start with new Fee A and Fee B. Small moves to generate revenue but not cause a great outcry...From there more and more changes to the point where customers are paying more for less.

    And the mergers will continue...There will come a time when no more mergers occur. Not because the thought isn't there but because there are only a dozen or so multi-national corporations left ruling the world.

  21. The fourth estate is meant to be a vital check on power in a working democracy.
    Corporations seek to control 'the narrative' on everything from products to entertainment to which politician and which policy is the one deserving of coverage and support.

    Corporations own all media and thereby control the means by which the citizenry are informed.

    Complimenting this ongoing drive for monoplistic control is the drive to control the internet. With the intense lobbying by industry to end net neutrality, the citizenry are facing a multi-pronged campaign to "own" every aspect of the public discourse.

    see: Sinclair Broadcasting ruling
    see: Citizens United ruling permitting undisclosed unlimited funding of political campaigns

  22. Mergers are a major mechanism for the upward transfer of wealth, and no matter which party is in power, they usually get approved. Each of the big telecoms was granted their own geographic monopolies in the bipartisan 1996 Telecom Act.

    This can be nothing but bad news for the consumer, and income inequality will only worsen. Democratic commenters here who seek to score partisan points obviously forgot about the mega-mergers Obama approved.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/08/news/obama-mergers-antitrust/index.html

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/the-secret-to-a-hap...

  23. Many dictatorial regimes would salivate over this kind of consolidation of media.

  24. I guess. You are aware the the administration fought the merger in court and lost to the judges decision, right?

  25. Perhaps this will provide the impetus we need to drop our addictions to screens and entertainment, and start re-engaging with our family, friends and communities. Please price us all out of the market fast, and we can restore our health and sanity.

  26. Nothing good can come of this except higher profits for the mega corporations. Lack of competition always spells disaster for the consumer in the form of higher prices and less competitive innovation. We are suffering now with ridiculous pricing and bundled programming that no one wants.

    I remember back in the old days, when all that existed were the free local and network broadcast channels, there was talk of a thing called "cable TV" which would be a subscription service that would be commercial free! How did that work out for us? Now we pay to watch more commercials than ever or we pay even more for "premium channels" that are commercial free.

    But the real fear is, once again there is a consolidation of media corporations that will result in less diversity of news outlets. This should ring alarm bells.
    Back in those good old days of broadcasting, a single entity could only own a limited number of broadcast outlets. The idea was to prevent someone like, let's say Rupert Murdoch (who isn't even American), from having to great an influence on the news we receive.
    Those days are long gone and getting further away every day.
    Like I said, nothing good can come of this.

  27. Well, if you thought your internet screens, searches, surfing, mobile devices and private television streaming sites were already becoming frustratingly junked up with ever more infantile advertising and unwanted factoid clickbait, just wait a another year or two. Because it's about to become one hundred times- worse if not completely intolerable.

  28. The corporate behavior of Comcast continues to outrage its hostage customers in Philadelphia, who are forced to pay exorbitant rates for television and internet service due to their monopoly on cable television. They have built two new skyscrapers and are acquiring these corporations by scouring our wallets. This monopolistic drive should be stopped by the courts, someone has to protect the consumers. And the creative community is hurt by monopolistic companies. The courts long ago said content production had to be separated from distribution and exhibition. Why has that been ignored? Companies like Netflix are not capable of quality production and don't care about it, either.

  29. I an skeptical that the republican DOJ had any intent of winning. Republican=Crony capitalism of the highest order. IF they can get monopolies, they will. A vertically integrated monopoly is even better. (to be clear, Establishment Democrat=Crony capitalism of the next to highest order.)

    Capitalism, with no constraints, inevitably leads to one winner. As capital concentrates it is increasingly effective at buying or thwarting competition and swallows more and more capital. That is Inherent in its nature. It is ONLY through anti-trust rules that capitalism remains a competitive marketplace.

    Corporations don't like competition. No business does. They will do what they can to avoid competing. It's more profitable. The value they get for bribing politicians and running the party machinery is incredible. Have a look at sites like TYT or the Intercept or TruthDig that do not get corporate funding. They put what we plainly see into accurate words that match the actions of politicians, and they reveal what we can't plainly see.

    This article only discusses the corporations aims on each other. There is NO context about why this is even possible. Which is to say, which politicians were bribed with campaign money and how they subsequently paved the way for these mergers.

    I have to ask; did you send your representative and senator to DC to Increase monopoly power and reduce your options and increase what you must pay as a consumer?

  30. For once, I was with Trump on this one. Granted, we had different reasons, but this should never have happened. If anything, we need these big monstrosities to break up, not grow larger. I sat and thought about this - I have yet to look to any merger/takeover/acquisition and say "gee this really worked out better for the average consumer". None. Zero. As usual, the penthouse has the time of their life and everyone else steps back down the ladder a rung.

  31. Does no one remember "Ma Bell?" They were broken up because they had become the only show in town everywhere. This is more of the same and with the same company!

    It is unfortunate that it will be the customer who suffers both financially and thru lack of options for access. What was the judge possibly thinking - or, was he just not thinking it through?

  32. Maybe now AT&T will change it's customer service policy of keeping hapless callers on the phone until their blood sugar levels are exhausted and they give up in despair.

  33. DOJ's motions for TRO and appeal should appear immediately if not sooner.

  34. Telecom is already a monopoly with outrageous rates for simple TV, phone and internet coverage.

    When the Constitution was written the Post Office was the telecom of the day and it was why it was included in the Constitution and regulated.

    We should return to it today since other means of communication are now as important as the Post Office.

    Offer a regulated basic affordable package for all citizens.

    It the telecom companies want to soak the citizens for further services, let them do it.

  35. Yeah. Come on Comcast. You're one of the most hated (by consumers) companies in the U.S. But Murdock is much worse. He's decided to take on Trump's image problem as his (Murdock's) personal mission. Fox "News" grooms the ignorant amongst us for Trump and the Repubs. What happened to you FCC? No more standards.

  36. These mergers, in addition to the end of net neutrality, will lead to yet another battle of the haves vs. the have-nots. If I didn't need to use the internet for work, I'd ditch it in a second and just go completely old-school. I got rid of cable TV years ago because I didn't want to pay for commercials. I still refuse to pay for them and when streaming goes the way of cable TV and becomes polluted with commercials, I'll stop doing that, too. We are all too addicted to these technological terrors and need to reconnect with one another the old-fashioned way: by talking to one another in person and maybe even (gasp!) over the phone.

  37. Alas, this judge is not informed about legal history, and he is on his way to rebuild the Ma Bell, which was thoroughly dismantled by a fairly well functioning court-system and government.

    Do you pay $450 for cable for entertainment only? Not to worry soon you will. Mr. Stephenson will squeeze you to pay for nonexistent fairy tale bills (he tried to force me to enrich him,)

    As a relief, the Internet has a great industry of legal people, whose sole occupation is to sue AT&T and members of this clan will take your case and win it for you (at no cost to you.)

  38. I’m just imagining a world with no one left on it but TV’s are still on and all the commercials still trying to sell us stuff. That’s how insane all this mega-merger mania sounds to me. Didn’t Pixar make a movie like that before they got swallowed by Disney?

  39. Trump lost, a loser? Shocking I say, shocking. After all, he always wins, so he says. Must be fake news.

  40. Anyone still believe America is anything other than a Corporatocracy at this point?