Spring Flings: A Quick Glance At The M&A Action

on Monday, May. 19th

Love is in the air. Corporate love, that is. If there’s one thing that’s defining the Spring of 2014 in the tech and entertainment sectors it is a wave of mergers & acquisitions. Some still have just the status of “rumored by solid sources” but the theme is clear: everyone is partnering up. Ahead of what, no one knows.

After the jump, the notable business deals.

Note: valuations on sliding scales reflect the complexity of these deals.

AT&T and Direct TV

Status: announced

Value: $48.5 billion

This merger would put the reformed Ma Bell on closer to equal footing with another deal that’s in process: the joining of Comcast and Time-Warner Cable in unholy matrimony.

YouTube and Twitch

Status: rumored by multiple sources

Value: $1 billion (all cash)

The new kid on the block of video streaming and the king of online video are practically a no-brainer. Unless, that is, you enjoy seeing robust competition amongst media players. Word has it that Twitch was being courted by Microsoft, but chose the more game industry neutral Google to become its betrothed.

Comcast and Time-Warner

Status: regulatory review

Value: $45 billion

All must bow down to the Kabletown masters. Anyone who was upset about this merger, which would create the largest cable and Internet provider by far can pretty much count their hopes of a regulatory intervention as being over now that AT&T and Direct TV are getting hitched.

Twitter and SoundCloud

Status: rumored

Value: Unknown

Twitter is having a bit of an identity crisis these days, and has never snapped up a name brand online consumer product before. There could be something to the idea of making it incredibly easy to share audio over social media. Sadly, it is just as likely that our beloved Twitter is flailing about, looking for a vision.

Apple and Beats

Status: rumored

Value: $3.3 billion

Speaking of companies that don’t buy consumer brands: Apple is said to be in talks to make its biggest acquisition ever in the form of the headphone/streaming audio brand. The deal—reportedly worth $3.2 billion dollars—would not be the largest of the current wave, but it could prove historic in its own right if Apple holds onto the Beats brand.

Facebook and What’s App

Status: cleared

Value: $14.6-19 billion

Facebook wants its next billion users so badly that it is paying as much as $40 a head on WhatsApp’s 500 million users.

Disney and Maker Studios

Status: approved by shareholders

Value $500 million+

The Mouse House has been on an IP buying spree for years, and now they’ve acquired a unit that is one part IP, one part distribution network, and 100% millennial fan-driven. When making you list of companies with a straight shot at world domination never, ever leave Disney out. Hearts & minds, people. Hearts & minds are what Tiggers do best.

Facebook and Oculus VR

Status: in progress

Value: $2 billion

Gamers got into an uproar when the social network announced they were acquiring the Kickstarter-funded virtual reality startup for two whole Instagrams worth of cash and stock. Oculus, for their part, say that the deal is about getting the VR future into the hands of the public all that sooner.

The Next Big Deal?

Multi-channel networks Machinima and Fullscreen have both been rumored to be in sale talks with various big media companies. Fullscreen alone has been said to be flirting with Relativity Media, Time Warner, and Yahoo. With M&A fever gripping all of California—maybe it’s a drought thing—the odds are good that one, if not both, will be sporting some new bling real soon.

Little Deals

Twitter has picked up a lock-screen replacement Android app called Cover. Google has grabbed the augmented reality translation app WorldLens.

Just looking at all this activity at the same time makes me feel like a conspiracy theorist. GODZILLA IS OUT THERE. I CAN PROVE IT.


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