Will Time Warner shareholders buy this deal?

Could there conceivably be room within one organisation - even a giant one - for the likes of Time Warner's Gerald Levin and the famously eccentric Ted Turner? One would think not, to judge by their respective characters. But in the virtual reality that rules in the world's entertainment sector, virtually anything now appears to be possible.

Let's imagine that Mr Turner agrees to fold his empire, so hard won, into the juggernaut of Time Warner. He would give up the hands-on control he enjoyed when building CNN, the Cartoon Network, and a slew of Hollywood production companies and gain second-in-command status at lumbering old Time Warner, famous for the horrendous problems it incurred trying to marry the publishing company Time with the Hollywood studio and music publishing group Warner.

What would the merged companies gain? Certainly there are some obvious matches. Both have movie departments (Mr Turner's Castle Rock, New Line Cinema and Turner Pictures, coupled with Time Warner's Hollywood leader Warner Bros). Warner has cable operations throughout the US, while Mr Turner has his satellite and cable broadcasting operations. And certainly there are some neat strategic fits: for example, Mr Turner has no music publishing interests; Warner has them in spades.

Wall Street is on the whole less sceptical about synergy claims of this sort than London, but even so Time Warner might have some difficulty selling this deal to its shareholders. Whether you think this a visionary merger which will position Time Warner at the forefront of the multimedia revolution, or merely a grand piece of corporate empire building, there is little doubt that bringing together these culturally very different companies will be a massive management task. Time Warner's record in this department hardly gives cause for believing it is up to it.

What, in any case, is the advantage of combining the companies under a single roof? Belief in the wonders of vertical integration has soured many a corporate dream; look at Matsushita, which earlier this year gave up its claim to Hollywood studio MCA. The media market is moving so quickly that even the most fleet-footed find it hard to keep up. Managements would be better employed keeping their eyes on the ball. The only sure winners are the investment bankers and lawyers paid to put these deals together - and to take them apart again later when they fail to gel.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore