Sen. Hawley Bill Would Presumptively Block ‘Biggest’ Tech Mergers

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) last week proposed an amendment to a budget bill that would prohibit the merger of some Big Tech companies by presumptively preventing any merger or acquisitions involving a “market-dominant online platform.” That would mean the dominant player would have to affirmatively show that a merger or purchase was not anticompetitive.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Analyst: WarnerMedia, NBCU Should Merge

“It is time for both AT&T and Comcast to abandon the fool’s gold of vertical integration of content and distribution and merge NBCUniversal with WarnerMedia,” LightShedPartners analyst Richard Greenfield argued last week. Will this vision actually become reality? “We doubt it,” he adds.

Dish’s Ergen On DirecTV Satellite Merger: Still ‘Inevitable’

A deal will happen, ‘whether it’s a year from now or 10 years from now,’ he says.

DOJ Shoots Down DirecTV-Dish Merger Again

Charlie Ergen’s dream of merging his Dish Network with AT&T’s DirecTV has been squashed by the Department of Justice — yet again. Regulators with the DOJ’s antitrust division recently informed executives of AT&T that a marriage between DirecTV and Dish would likely have to wait until faster 5G wireless service is more widely available in rural markets, two sourc­es close to the situation said.

FTC, DOJ Propose Changes To Antitrust Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are seeking comment on a couple of proposed changes to the automatic Hart Scott Rodino (HSR) antitrust reviews, which are required of large mergers (ones valued at at least $94 million). The FTC and DOJ divide up antitrust reviews, with DOJ generally handling the media merger reviews.

FTC Expands Merger Approval Lookbacks

The Federal Trade Commission is expanding its retrospective analysis into the impact of mergers it has approved over the past three-plus decades. That comes as both the FTC and Department of Justice are looking at whether Big Tech mergers that got pro forma sign-offs because they were not large enough to trigger antitrust reviews should have been captured by competition reviews.

NEWS ANALYSIS

DirecTV-Dish Merger May No Longer Make Sense

Shareholder Lawsuit Blasts Shari Redstone’s ‘Persistent Influence’ In Viacom-CBS Merger

Streamer FuboTV, Facebank Group To Merge

FuboTV — a U.S.-based video streaming service offering a premium, over-the-top bundle of sports TV channels — has inked a deal to merge with Facebank Group, a developer of technology IP. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the proposed merger aims to create a sports-first digital entertainment alternative online for cord-cutters and cord-nevers.

DOJ, FTC Schedule Vertical Merger Workshops

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are teaming up for two public workshops on drafts of new vertical merger guidelines. Vertical mergers are ones that combine different parts of the same supply chain, an AT&T with its video services and Time Warner with its content production, for example. DOJ and the FTC divvy up reviews of mergers for potential anticompetitive effects.

Feds Mull Blocking John Malone’s Sirius-iHeartRadio Merger

Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot Sign Merger Deal

The companies said in a joint statement the new group will be led by PSA’s cost-cutting CEO Carlo Tavares, with Fiat Chrysler’s Chairman John Elkann as chairman of the merged company. Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley will stay on, but it was not announced in what capacity. No name for the new company has been decided.

Televisa Wins Injunction On Disney-Fox Deal

Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa won an injunction against Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets in Mexico, but Mexico’s market regulator said on Thursday that the ruling would not stall the deal.

Investment Firms Snap Up Former Media Execs

The shake-out in media and entertainment after a few years of mergers, cost-cutting initiatives and massive restructurings has thrust many experienced executives back onto the job market — but they’re not all landing at mainstream Hollywood companies. A growing number of them are making their way into new roles as partners, advisers or entrepreneurs-in-residence at private equity and venture capital funds.

Viacom, CBS Shares Rise On Their Final Day

Viacom and CBS shares perked up Wednesday, each rising more than 3% in their final day of trading as separate companies. The media companies’ all-stock merger took effect after the closing bell. Shares in ViacomCBS will begin trading Thursday morning on the Nasdaq.

ViacomCBS Closes As Wall St. Debates Outlook

Management touts the firm’s big U.S. TV audience share, content library, growing streaming services and international upside, but some analysts say investors want to see proof of the merger benefits over time.

CBS Ordered To Disclose Viacom Records

A Delaware judge on Monday ordered CBS Corp. to turn over records regarding its plan to reunite with Viacom to a shareholder who wants to investigate if the deal unfairly benefits Shari Redstone, who controls both companies.

CBS And Viacom Reveal Dec. Merger Date

CBS and Viacom expect their re-merger to become official after the U.S. stock markets close on Wednesday, Dec. 4, the companies said this morning.

Shareholders OK Gannett-New Media Merger

Shareholders cleared the way Thursday for New Media Investment Group and USA Today owner Gannett to join forces in a deal that will create the largest U.S. media company by print circulation, and one that will also vie for the biggest online news audience nationwide. In separate votes, shareholders of each company approved New Media’s $1.13 billion acquisition of Gannett. The companies can now move forward to finalize the deal, which is expected to close Tuesday, Nov. 19.

FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The FCC has issued the text of its decision approving the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. That came in the form of a Memorandum Opinion and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Order of Proposed Modification. The FCC modified some build-out requirements on Dish spectrum as part of the spin-off of the merged company’s Boost Mobile prepaid operations to the satellite operator.

Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot Agree To Merge

The merger would bring together Italian-American Fiat Chrysler, with its strong footprint in North America where it makes at least two-thirds of its profits, and France’s PSA Peugeot, the No. 2 automaker in Europe. Both lag in China, despite the participation of the Chinese shareholder Dongfeng, in PSA Peugeot, and are catching up in the transition to electrified powertrains.

Viacom, CBS Move Closer To Closing Merger

Viacom and CBS said their merger is getting nearer to completion and that a closing is now expected in early December. The companies said that the merger proposals have been approved by National Amusements, the investment company owned by the Redstone family that controls both Viacom and CBS.

FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The FCC today voted along party lines to approve the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, meaning the deal has received the full blessing of the U.S. government. But the merger is still facing a significant obstacle as more than a dozen state attorneys general forge ahead in their lawsuit to block the deal.

Sanders: Break Up Big Cos. Like Disney/Fox

Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has come out with his plan to “end corporate corruption and greed” and it would include potentially unwinding mergers approved under the Trump Administration. Among the companies Sanders singled out: “Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox has created a conglomerate that controls media in sports, in movie theaters, and on television,” he said.

Gannett-Gatehouse Merger Clears DOJ Review

Nexstar Closes On Tribune Merger

At the same time it brings on board three former Tribune execs: Sean Compton, who will head WGN America; Dana Zimmer, who oversees distribution; and Gary Weitman, who is in charge of internal and external communications.

Justice Names New Top Merger Litigator

DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim has named section chief Kathy O’Neill to a new post as senior director of investigations and litigation. As such she will be the most senior civil antitrust attorney. Most recently, she had been chief of the Antitrust Division’s transportation, energy and agriculture section.

What’s Next For CBS-Viacom?

Investors and media observers are hoping that Viacom and CBS will offer some hint of their progress this week toward a merger when the media companies each report their second quarter earnings on Aug. 8.

GateHouse Buying Gannett For $1.4B

GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, is buying USA Today owner Gannett Co. for $12.06 a share in cash and stock, or about $1.4 billion. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S. along with more than 300 weeklies.

DOJ OKs Nexstar-Tribune Merger With Spinoffs

“Without the required divestitures, Nexstar’s merger with Tribune threatens significant competitive harm to cable and satellite TV subscribers and small businesses,” said  antitrust chief Makan Delrahim. “I am pleased, however, that we have been able to reach a resolution of the division’s concerns, thanks in part to the parties’ commitment to engage in good faith settlement talks from the outset of our investigation.”

Who Wins And Who Loses If CBS And Viacom Merge?

An increasingly likely merger could shake up the streaming world.

DirecTV And Dish Said To Be Open To Merging

AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV and Dish Network Corp., suffering the steepest subscriber losses in the pay-TV industry, are open to a merger and both companies believe such a deal could pass muster with U.S. regulators, according to people familiar with their thinking.

CBS, Viacom Move Closer To Merger Talks

The move has been expected for months, although there may still be obstacles on the road to a reunion for the two sides of the Redstone media empire.

THE PRICE POINT

Why Viacom Must Merge With CBS

Hank Price: The relationship between Viacom and CBS is a long and complicated one.

CBS And Viacom Reignite Merger Talks

CBS and Viacom are gearing up to resume merger talks — and settle once and for all who will be CEO of the combined company. On Monday, the two media giants cleared a major hurdle to getting back to the negotiating table when Viacom settled a contract dispute with AT&T that had $1 billion in carriage fees hanging in the balance, sources say.

Justice Sets Dates For TV Merger Workshop

DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim slots the event for May 2-3 and says the event may result in Justice changing how it looks not only at mergers, but also at spot advertising and retrans.

Appeals Court Won’t Stop AT&T-TW Merger

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is allowing the huge merger between AT&T and Time Warner to stand. On Tuesday, the appellate court ruled that the government had failed to prove that the transaction valued between $85 to $105 billion that would give the nation’s largest telecom control over CNN, TBS, and TNT amounted to enhanced leverage that would harm the marketplace.

Clyburn To Advise T-Mobile, Sprint On Merger

Former Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn is advising T-Mobile and Sprint on their proposed $26 billion merger as the two companies seek regulatory approval from her former agency. She said that she sees the work as a continuation of her efforts in government to expand internet access to hard-to-reach and overlooked communities.

JESSELL AT LARGE

What’s In Store In ‘19? Jessell’s 8-Ball Knows

TVNewsCheck’s prescient editor, Harry Jessell, asks his infallible Magic 8-Ball to reveal how 2019 will unfold for various aspects of the television business, including core advertising, political advertising, retrans, mergers, FCC ownership caps, Big-4 duopolies and ATSC 3.0. He then expounds on the answers since, while all-knowing, the 8-Ball is notoriously terse.

ASNE, APME Agree To Merge

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors, whose membership of newsroom leaders and educators make them among the most significant organizations in media, have agreed to merge and will become the News Leadership Association. The two groups announced the merger plan on Tuesday, after their members voted […]