Surge in media mergers is expected under Trump's pro-business agenda | 1/26/2017 | Staff
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Buckle up: Media companies are preparing for some whirlwind courtships in what’s expected to be the biggest merger bonanza in years.

The latest corporate maneuvering has New York-based Verizon Communications Inc., the nation’s largest phone company with more than 114 million wireless subscribers, possibly pairing up with Connecticut-based Charter Communications, which has more than 17 million customers in such key markets as Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.

Verizon - Charter - Board - Member - Possibility

Verizon recently approached a Charter board member to discuss the possibility of combining. The discussion was preliminary and there is no certainty that such a tie-up will occur, people close to the companies cautioned Thursday.

However, this romance and others appear to be blooming one week after President Trump took office and designated a new Federal Communications Commission chairman who favors a more hands-off approach to government regulation than his predecessor.

Media - Companies - Growth - Rivals - Effort

Traditional media companies desperate for growth don’t want to get left behind as rivals bulk up in an effort to survive a more difficult environment.

“What is driving this [merger activity] is challenges in these businesses,” said Matthew Harrigan, a senior analyst with Wunderlich Securities. “There are not a lot of elephants on the savanna, and when one moves, you have to move too.”

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Verizon’s biggest competitor, AT&T, already is trying to buy one of the nation’s most prominent entertainment companies, Time Warner Inc., which owns HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and the Burbank-based Warner Bros. movie and television studio. That $85.4-billion deal was announced in October, and must undergo a review from Trump’s Justice Department and possibly the FCC.

Trump administration appointees are expected to be friendlier to corporate mergers, returning to a traditional Republican openness to approving major deals after eight years of heightened scrutiny — and some major rejections — under Democratic appointees of former President Obama.

Week - Trump - Ajit - Pai - Free-market

This week, Trump designated Ajit Pai, a free-market...
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