The landmark decision on Tuesday to greenlight the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon lifted media ETFs in early Wednesday trading. The decision by Judge Leon will essentially open the floodgates for other mergers to commence.
“This decision could serve as a ‘green light’ for other potential M&A, including Comcast’s ongoing pursuit of FOX,” said John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS.
The markets are bracing themselves as other vertical mergers are likely to occur. Comcast is planning to put in a bid with Disney to purchase Twenty-First Century Fox assets, such as 39 percent of British satellite TV provider Sky Plc and Indian media conglomerate Star.
In the meantime, media-focused ETFs responded on the up side like Invesco Dynamic Media ETF (NYSEArca: PBS), which is currently up 1.41% and the iShares Evolved U.S. Media and Entertainment ETF (NYSEArca: IEME) is up 2.54%.
CBS and Viacom are in talks to move forward with a merger that will make controlling shareholder, National Amusements, happy. In addition, Verizon, Charter and Discovery are all eyeing content companies primed for acquisition while Sprint and T-Mobile may join forces to combat AT&T now that the merger with Time Warner will move forward.
Netflix Unfazed by Mergers
Despite all the potential merger news with traditional media companies, Netflix CFO David Wells feels that this media-buying frenzy spurned by the notion that “bigger is better” is not necessarily the answer to capture the most market share. Netflix gained 92 million customers within the last five years as the number of individuals paying for cable is going the opposite direction.
“Not everybody’s going to get big,” said Wells. “The strategic question is, ‘what type of business do I want to be in the next five or 10 years?'”
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