Yesterday it was announced that Disney and 21st Century Fox had come to an agreement on a $52.4B deal that would see the former acquiring a large portion of the latter. This comes off of the heels of the (merger) block by the Department of Justice on AT&T and Time Warner. I originally said when commenting on that block and entertaining the idea of a possible Disney swooping into the place of AT&T scenario how any deal like such going forward would “be an instant replay” out of principle alone.
Well, I’m not one to say that I told you so– but Ted Johnson of Variety reported that the House and Senate antitrust subcommittees are calling for hearings on the Disney/21st Century Fox acquisition,
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said that the proposed transaction was “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media.”
Again, I’m not surprised to see such a quick call on this deal since in my eyes and many others’, it possesses a true threat to the industry as it nears and kisses the line of a monopoly. I had pointed out when commenting on the announcement of the deal how Disney recently strong armed theaters into increasing Disney‘s percentage of ticket revenue received by nearly 15% from what it normally is. A move like this is quite easy to become a slippery slope when a company gains even more “power” in said areas.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) who also called for a closer look on this deal said,
If it’s approved, this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.
In the current political climate that we’re in, it speaks volumes when we see people in power from all sides expressing concern on a situation where a similar has been called into question as being a bias “targeting”. We can see, and rightfully so, that there’s a concern of company’s growing too large and powerful in the means of controlling what individuals see and are exposed to. Where I felt that the AT&T/Time Warner merger lacked in that category, it’s blatantly clear that the acquisition in question is such in spades.
I’ve stood firm on my opinion of this situation, and still remain there atop of that hill, as I reiterate and expect this outcome to be the same as the AT&T/Time Warner merger.