Ever been late to an event you're excited to attend and then missed the subway by a few seconds? And then run back up to the street and into a sudden downpour to find that there are no available cabs? And then arrived at the event soaked to the bone and emotionally shattered because your unpredictable date still hasn't responded to calls or texts? And then watched in mute fury as your most bitter rival pulls up to the door in a limousine, bone dry and tormentingly happy with a famously gorgeous date you didn't even know was single?
Well, then you know how Verizon feels right now.
AT&T Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would create a new hallmark in the rapidly converging realms of media, communications and the internet.
A deal, which could happen as early as this weekend, would unite AT&T’s portfolio of wireless, broadband and satellite TV services with Time Warner’s entertainment empire, which includes cable networks such as TNT, TBS, CNN, the coveted premium channel HBO, and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio.
Since rumors of this merger only started getting around yesterday afternoon, the general sense of things is that a mega media deal is coming together quickly and without much drama at all. That stands in stark contrast to another ongoing merger in the communications and media space that has played out more like a primetime soap going off the rails:
Verizon Communications Inc. on Thursday reported declining revenue and plunging subscriber growth, and said it is assessing whether it will need to renegotiate its acquisition of Yahoo Inc. after a major data breach.
Essentially, Verizon is telling Yahoo that it's no longer in a position to deal with any more surprise Marissa Mayer-inflected shitstorms, and would prefer to just re-do the $4.8 billion deal for a figure more in the neighborhood of $4.80. It took months for Yahoo to admit that Verizon was it's best suitor and then entered into a relationship by apparently keeping virtually every dirty secret from its past locked in a shame vault.
To top it off, Verizon is now realizing that the AT&T Time Warner deal will be bigger, better, and perhaps most importantly of all; drama-free. Not only will AT&T not have to deal with a surfeit of terrifying revelations from Time Warner's past (one would assume that the litany of those are already public record), it will become a major media and entertainment force almost immediately upon the deal closing. When - or if - Verizon consummates its deal with Yahoo, it will be a communications company with a content arm that might be pretty snazzy...if there is ever enough time to sift through all the seemingly picayune bullshit left over from the Mayer regime and streamline things.
So let's give Verizon a bit of a break on this Friday. It's standing there soaked and bitter outside the party, still waiting for its mercurial and emotionally cruel date to show while AT&T breezes on by with the belle of the ball on its arm.