A little more than a year ago (October 2016) it was announced that AT&T and Time Warner had come to an agreement that would see the former purchase the latter for $85.4B. This sent a shock wave through multiple communities, one especially being the DC Comics community as it wasn’t sure what this would mean for it. We’ve since seen stories break about the possible merger of (mega-power) Disney and a 21st Century Fox “merger” that sent similar shock waves, but as soon as that was on the table it was gone. It appears that this is now the case with Time Warner/AT&T.
It was reported today by Cecilia Kang and Michael J. de la Merced of the New York Times that the United States’ Department of Justice is filing suit to stop the merger under antitrust law. This is quite huge, as it potentially would stop one of (if not the) biggest acquisitions occurring between two of the most influential companies on the face of the earth. This would also possibly set up a vacuum for another company to come in and fill the “purchaser wanted” void that’s there by Time Warner.
This raises some questions, like whether or not Disney may step in and try to fill the void left by AT&T. It’s a very plausible scenario, as Disney was interested in purchasing 21st Century Fox, and would theoretically be capable of doing such since that initial purchase fell through.
Then there’s the somewhat complicated territory of what happens to DC Comics if Disney would be successful at purchasing their essential rival of Warner Bros. (There by extension of Time Warner.) This could completely shift the landscape of the comic book industry in a single heartbeat. It would undoubtedly change the face of how business is handled far outside of just the two comic book companies — DC Comics and Marvel.
At the least, it seems that (Disney purchasing Time Warner) would be a win/win.
But– and yes, there’s almost always a “but,” and that comes in the fact that I find it extremely implausible for this to occur. The fact that the United States’ DOJ is filing suit to block the merger of Time Warner and AT&T means (in my eyes) if Disney were to then try to swoop in to fill that void, we’d see an instant replay.
It’s an extremely dangerous thing for such creative companies to be under a monopoly. It restricts what’s put out to us through a single lens and thus doesn’t allow for much of a variety. Sure, there are some cases where a monopoly isn’t necessarily bad, and that could be due to it providing an amazing quality product for the cheapest price. The best example being UNITED STATES v MICROSOFT CORPORATION for monopolization.
I personally feel that the DOJ blocking the merger is justifiable. It’s a fine example of not allowing a majority of power end up in one place, and simply because of that, it seems it would be nearly impossible to see DC Comics swallowed up by Disney.