Mega Media Mergers to fight against Netflix

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  • Walt Disney is close to confirming a deal to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets for about $60bn, reports say.

    The sale would include the 20th Century Fox film studio and the Sky and Star satellite broadcasters in the UK, Europe and Asia.

    A announcement of a deal maybe coming on Thursday. If it happens and gets cleared, around one third of all Hollywood films and tv shows will be under the control of one company, possibly with a Murdoch at the helm of it in the future.

    That will give Reed Hastings, Netflix's boss, something to think about.

  • Disney to buy Fox in $52.4bn deal including Murdoch's Sky share.

    Deal also includes Fox's studio, and FX channel and Star TV.

    No news yet on whether a Murdoch will become the top dog at Disney. The Murdoch's will become Disney's largest shareholder with a 25% share and likely James Murdoch will become the new Disney CEO in the future.

    Disney/Fox investor teleconference in a hour.

    Disney/Fox press release

  • LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Vodafone said on Friday it was in talks with John Malone's Liberty Global about buying some of the cable company's assets in Europe.

    In 2015, Liberty Global and Vodafone merged their Dutch interests together in what many (including me) see as a prelude to a full merger between them.

    Liberty Global's full year results are out on Wednesday 14th Feb, but I don't expect LG to comment on this. In the meantime, Mike Fries, LG's boss, gave this interview to CNBC last week:

    Mike Fries interview

    With Disney's purchase of most of Murdoch's companies, AT&T (America's biggest telephone company) and Time Warner merging, we're in a era of major media mergers again where Hollywood studios, broadcasters and other content companies are merging with network operators like telephone companies, mobile phone companies and cable companies.

    Who's next?

  • Just posted this on Cable Forum, might as well have it on my own site too!:

    So what do we reckon will happen here? Is this Liberty selling most of their European cable business' to Vodafone like UPC and keeping VM for themselves? Perhaps as a possible prelude to merging VM with with their American companies. Don't forget Malone now controls Scripps, the owner of UKTV (Dave, UK Gold etc) or will. That deal hasn't finalised yet.

    I don't get what his thinking is here.

    Malone and Fries constantly talk about scale. They have that with their European operations, but unlike America, their European cable cos operate in different countries, different languages, laws etc etc. Perhaps they are just tired of running such disparately operations, but why buy them in the first place?

    Perhaps they just want to concentrate on the English speaking world and sod everything else??

    I think we need to keep an eye on the wider media landscape too here as Malone was talking to Viacom and CBS last year about a possible deal between them.

    At the moment, Viacom and CBS are talking about merging back together again, so perhaps ultimately the new CBS/Viacom may become part of Malone's empire at some point.

    Everyone is worried about Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Facebook. It's why Murdoch has sold out.

    Malone now has significant media interests, but they are still much smaller than the new Disney to be, the new AT&T/Time Warner company (when that happens) Comcast/NBC and the likes of Amazon haven't really yet put all their tanks on the field yet, they will..

    Here's a quick reminder of what Malone de facto controls, if not owns:

    Virgin Media

    all3media (one of the UK's largest production houses) which makes stuff like Midsomer Murders, Hollyoaks and Wolf Hall.

    Scripps - the owner of UKTV
    Charter - the 2nd biggest cable co in America
    QVC and HSN

    a share of Lionsgate and not forgetting almost 10% of ITV.

    and that's just the main stuff. If that were all merged together, that would be significant in itself, but merge all that with Viacom/CBS or someone else and you have an aboslute global goliath.

    If that were to happen, expect a ITV-Ch5 merger soon afterwards.

    Still no mobile deal, yet.

    My thinking here is, and there were numerous posts about it from others in my old thread, as Vodafone is being squeezed in the UK where once it was dominate, could it sell its UK operation to Malone?

  • A new chapter opened Thursday in the drama over the future of the $37 billion Redstone media empire, with CBS Corporation and Viacom announcing plans to explore a reunion, reigniting a plan that fizzled a little more than a year ago.

    As I mentioned Viacom and CBS in my post above and this thread is about media mergers, this is another one on the cards.

    Anyone who has followed this story, knows it's been a Battle Royale over a very frail, elderly man's media empire and the final chapter to this saga looks like it will be about to happen.

    Another article talking about cord cutting and why CBS and Viacom need to come together again:

    CBS, Viacom together again? Why it matters if you are a cord cutter or pay-TV viewer

    Related, this article thinks Amazon should buy CBS:

    CBS, home of broad-based hits like “NCIS” and “Big Bang Theory,” is exploring a tie-up with Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, as well as Paramount studios. Both are controlled by entrepreneur Shari Redstone, and while it makes sense on the surface why she’d want to merge the two, it’s short-sighted.

    Redstone should sell CBS to Amazon instead.

    Amazon are the elephant in the room here. They can go it alone, or buy someone, but whatever they do, they will dominate, which is why Murdoch is selling most of his empire to Disney.

    Murdoch was asked if he was quitting in his recent Sky News interview, but he called it a pivot. Quite a interesting way of looking at things. He went on to explain that he was a disrupter once by launching companies such as Sky, but now it's the likes of Amazon and Netflix who are the disrupters and will become dominate.

    I have no doubt some will survive, especially Disney once its infused with most of Murdoch's companies, but can these other old media giants really succeed against the new boys on the block, especially Amazon?

  • Discovery's purchase of Scripps has been cleared by EU regulators and American regulators are expected to green light the deal within the next two months.

    Discovery has many channels in the UK including Discovery Chanel, Animal Planet, Quest and TLC, but it also owns half of UKTV, a 50/50 joint with the BBC, which operates channels such as Dave, Gold, Eden and Good Food.

    Scripps operates mostly in America with channels such as HGTV (Home & Garden TV) and the Cooking Channel. It's current only UK channel is the Travel Channel.

    Discovery's boss said there is a opportunity for synergies and cost savings once the Scripps purchase is complete and if you compare the three sets of channels together from the three companies (I've listed them in the next post) , there is considerable overlap between the channels and no doubt there will be casualties.

    A reminder that American billionaire John Malone is the ultimate owner of Discovery, as well as Virgin Media.

    So, Malone has control, or will do, of vast amounts of channels, cable companies and other media interests, but is he wasting his time with all this empire building when giants like Netflix, in my opinion, will make most of these channels totally redundant?

  • Here is a list of channels run by Discovery, Scripps and UKTV.

    Apart from the two top channels listed, most of Scripp's channels are not shown in the UK.

    (I've left out all the HD and time-shift variants)

    UKTV Discovery Scripps
    Watch Animal Planet Travel Channel
    Dave Discovery Channel Food Network
    Alibi Discovery History HGTV (Home & Garden TV)
    Gold Discovery Home & Health Cooking Channel
    Eden Discovery Science DIY Network
    Drama Discovery Shed Great American Country
    Really Discovery Turbo afc - Asian Food channel
    Good Food DMAX Fine Living
    Yesterday Eurosport 1 TVN
    Home Eurosport 2
    Investigation Discovery
    Quest Red

    I've no idea whether the BBC would allow changes to the UKTV's channels, but the BBC and Scripps had a close working relationship with each other as Scripps used to own 50% of UKTV until they sold their share to Discovery.

    Even without UKTV's involvement, there are obvious things that Discovery could do by merging DIY with Discovery Shed and Discovery Home & Health with HGTV.

    I am sure that once the buyout is complete, there will be some changes to the channels that are broadcast in the UK.

  • Comcast is attempting to gatecrash Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of Sky, submitting a rival offer to the UK broadcaster’s shareholders worth about £22bn.

    The media and telecoms company, which owns NBC Universal and is the largest cable operator in the US, said its all-cash offer of £12.50 per share offered Sky shareholders a 16% premium on the offer from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

    Fox owns 39% of Sky and submitted its bid to take full control in December 2016, but the deal has been held up by regulatory issues.

    Mega story this, very apt for a mega media merger thread!

    Looks like Disney has competition for Sky as Comcast, America's biggest cable company and owner of the Universal film studio and NBC tv network, is hoping to spoil the House of Mouse's plans.

    A couple of things here:

    Comcast tried to buy Murdoch's 21st Century Fox company a few years ago and some media analysts believe this maybe a sneaky way by Comcast to get Murdoch around the table with them again. Plus, Comcast's boss and Disney's boss are massive rivals.

    The other thing, which I have not seen mentioned in the media, is I believe this Comcast bid for Sky could be linked to Ofcom's announcement last week. With BT being forced to open up its Telegraph poles to rival companies, Comcast may see this as a very cheap (will still cost billions) way of building a fibre optic network in Britain.

    What do you think? Will Comcast win and get hold of Sky, or will the House of Mouse fight back? Or, will someone else get involved in the battle for Sky...?

  • Well as I have said before Murdoch has no qualms at all about destroying what he sees as competition in his quest for world media domination.

    No, it's the opposite Ron, it seems. He wants to quit and sell out to Disney.

    With Murdoch it will be a smoke and mirrors distraction ploy, look at what I am doing over here while doing something else somewhere else.

    Just to come back to this earlier discussion, but you maybe right with your "smoke and mirrors" comment, Ron.

    Some media pundits believe that if Murdoch does sell most of his existing companies, this will give him a whole wad of cash to spend on something else.

    Murdoch has always coveted CNN and some believe that Murdoch may try and make another bid for Time Warner, owner of CNN and HBO.

    Telecoms giant AT&T, is trying to buy Time Warner, but there are lots of regulatory hurdles ahead, so with all these media mergers happening at the moment, it really is anyone's guess what the media landscape will be in a few years time.

  • Comcast, which last week unveiled a £22bn offer for Sky, has been labelled the “worst company in America” twice in recent years over shoddy customer service and pricing. It has also been involved in regulatory transgressions which legal experts believe means its plan to take over Sky should be closely scrutinised by watchdogs.

    Do we really want America's "worst" company buying Sky?

  • Comcast is like a worser version of Virgin Media. Their boss likes to use the same terms as John Malone, ie "sweat the assets" meaning leave crappy cable boxes with customers for as long as possible.

    Problem is Heero, Disney is no better. Their corrupt business practices are well known, including buying off politicians with bags filled of money (literally) to get what they want.

  • Lots of Discovery news tonight:

    1 - Discovery's deal to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive completed on Tuesday evening. Official press release here.

    2 - Discovery looking to create global streaming app. FT article here.

    Now that Discovery owns Scripps that includes their 50% shareholding in UKTV makers of Gold, Dave, Eden and others. See my earlier posts on this. I wonder whether the BBC will agree to allow Discovery to alter/merge the UKTV channels into Discovery's wider bouquet?

    And with the news that Discovery wants to launch a global streaming app, how realistic is this?

    Discovery used to be a really decent brand and show documentaries and other high quality programming. These days it's nothing more than low brow reality type shows mostly showing programmes features hysterical yanks doing silly things.

    Can Discovery really make money out of a standalone app with that sort of programming? Would you pay for it? (I wouldn't).

  • Quick summary of what's happening been happening in the media world:

    1. AT&T's proposed purchase of Time Warner goes to court on Monday. America's Department of Justice (DoJ) is trying to block the merger citing concerns over AT&T's ability to be able to charge higher prices to consumers and higher fees to competitors. Most media analysts believe that the DoJ's attempt to block this takeover will be unsuccessful.

    2. After Comcast's proposed bid for Sky, we are waiting to see if Disney upps the ante and puts in a higher offer. Most commentators believe a higher Disney offer will be forthcoming.

    3. As mentioned in the post above this one, Discovery's purchase of Scripps has completed giving John Malone's Discovery company control over a vast range of channels showing an assortment of all reality and lifestyle type shows.

    4. CBS and Viacom both owned by the Redstone family are expected to announce that they will remerge soon amidst growing consolidation among their competitors. I believe that this merged company will ultimately merge with John Malone's various companies, Vodafone and Verizon to create a gigantic media and telecoms company.

    5. Apple still vehemently deny they have no interest in purchasing Netflix while at the same time stating that they are impressed with Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings. Read (excuse the pun) between the lines here.

  • My point 4 above is starting to roll:

    CBS Makes First Viacom Proposal

    CBS Corp. has shared its first merger proposal with Viacom, kicking off negotiations between the two entertainment companies controlled by the Redstone family that could recombine them 12 years after their separation.

    The all-stock proposal was submitted by an independent committee of the CBS board to an independent committee of Viacom's board. One source familiar with the situation said the offer was sent on Friday, but word only came after the market close on Monday. That source said it put a below-market price on Viacom when it was submitted.

    I believe that much further down the line, that Virgin Media's parent company, Liberty Global, which is controlled by John Malone, may well end up being part of the company that has CBS and Viacom as its base.

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