Monday, January 11, 2010

Time Warner - AOL Revisted

The NY Times has a semi-interesting recap of the history behind the negotiations preceding the merger between Time Warner and AOL roughly 10 years ago.  It's worth reading, if only for this quote from Ted Turner, who lost $8Billion as a result of the deal:

"The Time Warner-AOL merger should pass into history like the Vietnam War and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It’s one of the biggest disasters that have occurred to our country."



Anonymous said...

The "stupidiy" of the merger as compared to the "stupidity" of entering the war is a fair comparison. The damage & expenses are not comparable. No one died in that merger. While having your retirement account decimated (temporarily, if you were diversified) is serious, it shouldn't be compared to a real war.

Kid Dynamite said...

anon - i agree with you completely.

Anonymous said...

The Time Warner/AOL merger is *still* history desperately trying to be re-written by the media Oligopolists.

Somewhere at the C-level a very, very good deal was implemented by the Time-Warner end of the merger such that Steve Case's authority as CEO was limited.

AOL's side of the deal has some blame in not throwing a penalty flag on the deal because of the firewalls that kept Case isolated from the business entities.

My general take is that at the time, media conglomerates were in a very weak position overall and AOL was smart enough to strike.

Now that the media conglomerates have recovered and reinforced their Oligopoly and well on their way to controlling media distribution on the Internet, their weakness at that point in history remains a sore spot for Mr. Turner and his pals.

You are a smart-enough guy. Don't buy into this bit of revisionist history.

Kid Dynamite said...

revisionist history? the fact is that the deal destroyed hundreds of billions of dollars of shareholder value. there's nothing revisionist about it. it was a horrendous deal! never mind Turner - his quote is crazy.

i liked how, reading the article, you got the impression that Levin's thought process was "hey, steve case seems like a nice guy. also, i need to do SOMETHING, and this "internet" thing seems big, so maybe i'll join forces with him"