While many people are arguing that the proposed $85 billion AT&T and Time Warner deal would be bad for consumer choice, billionaire Mark Cuban has a contrarian viewpoint. The merger would lead to “more competition” he tells TechCrunch.
Cuban, who made his money through a different media acquisition, thinks the combination would help challenge the tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon who are “dominating digital content.” Right now, “AT&T and Time Warner lag way behind.”
He believes that Time Warner, which owns properties like HBO and CNN, would benefit from additional resources for developing its web properties. “Traditional content needs help transitioning to compete with app-driven content,” he argued.
[UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that Cuban previously appeared in ads for AT&T. He says he’s no longer paid by them].
Cuban also hopes the mega merger will be approved by regulators because he feels it “isn’t as impactful” as Facebook’s purchases of Instagram or WhatsApp. (He invests in a competing messaging service called Dust).
But others disagree with Cuban’s assessment. An array of politicians, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, have questioned the legitimacy of the deal.
The Clinton campaign voiced skepticism, but took more of a wait-and-see approach. The antitrust review would not be finalized until 2017.
And there have been attempted media acquisitions that did not work out. The Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal was called off and AT&T’s attempted T-Mobile acquisition was scrapped.
But this wouldn’t be the first time that a television provider successfully acquired television content. Comcast bought NBC Universal in a similar deal in 2011. And AT&T recently acquired DirecTV, emboldening its service provider business.
Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Verizon, which competes with AT&T.