Another Must Read: Will the Ghost of AOL Haunt the Time Warner-AT&T Deal? Culture Clash Too?

Oct 23, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Writes Recode’s Kara Swisher: “You could write books on what went wrong [with AOL’s merger with Time Warner in 2000] — and I did — which raises the question of what Time Warner now thinks will go right in the deal it just struck with telecom giant AT&T to be taken out for $85 billion.”

Over the weekend Swisher asked Steve Case, who ran AOL back in 2000, what he thinks of the just announced AT&T deal.

Here, says Swisher, was Case’s full email response:

“While back in 2000, some didn’t believe in the internet and/or didn’t believe in convergence, of course those concepts now seem obvious. So it’s not surprising to me that we are again seeing attempts to marry communications and content. I just hope the merged company will have the kind of culture that will enable it to drive synergies and create value.

“As I explained in ‘The Third Wave,’ and as we discussed on your podcast, the idea of the AOL/Time Warner merger made sense, both strategically and, at least for AOL, financially. What was flawed was the execution. But, as Thomas Edison said more than a century ago, vision without execution is hallucination. And execution is all about the right people focused on the right priorities, working together in the right way.

“Maybe I should send a copy of my book to the boards and senior teams at both companies?”

Thus despite possible regulatory hurdles, one wonders, in the words of the late great Yogi Berra, if the disparate cultures of AT&T and the Time Warner companies won’t lead to “Dejà vu all over again.”

We recommend you read all of Swisher’s column, which you can find if you click here.



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