Fox Bid Reminiscent of AOL-Time Warner: Jerry Levin

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July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Former Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jerry Levin discusses Twenty-First Century Fox’s bid for Time Warner on “In The Loop.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Merger as perhaps the worst merger deal better in corporate america -- the worst merger deal ever in corporate america.

What do you think?

I don't know.

First of all, i think it is exciting technically not only because of the marquee assets of both companies but also the emotional -- rupert, media mogul, and astute financial manager, conservative who grew up in the culture of hbo.

My own view is that while all this is exciting, it is somewhat reminiscent -- i will say it this way -- time warner and aol.

It is a watershed announcement that change is coming.

As a matter of fact, change is still taking place in the form of digital disruption.

While it may make sense to put these wonderful assets together, which i am not sure is really going to happen, what really makes more sense to me is to figure out in this world who has the digital platform that is going to reach the consumer and provide the financial base to make good programming.

It also calls into question how do you define these companies.

What business is google inc., apple, amazon.

I am involved in the health care start up field, and the business itself is being transformed by digital technology as well.

In fact, it is not just about big pharma and insurance companies and doctors.

It is more about apple and google.

I agree with you, but a lot of us with a technology and that disruption and what that means -- jerry, where do you see the biggest problems coming up from this combination?

One of the big problems with time warner and aol is a cultural clash.

Where do you see the clash here in a time warner-21st century fox -- i think there is a similar issue, not just because of the historical problems with culture clash at time warner and aol.

We have very different auspices in terms of -- and i have great respect for rupert and the murdoch family.

But the way that company is run is diametrically opposed to the historic culture of hbo, the turner networks, and warner bros., each having its own distinct historic culture.

I do think that could be a problem.

One of the ironies here is that i think either company -- fox or time warner -- could be managed in a more interesting, forward-looking way by one of the digital players.

I am not suggesting that google is going to come in and make an offer.

But their entrepreneurship, their creativity in stealing the workforce to provide moonshot -- they are already in the business anyhow -- is an example of maybe the creative process needs to be more aligned with those companies that are delivering content to mobile consumers.

Just as an aside, where does news come from these days?

Apart from linkedin and facebook -- that's right.

We are using our phones more in many ways before we use the television or the newspaper.

Or anywhere else to get our news.

So i think this is changing our definition of what a company is.

It is not just about we are in the period where conglomerates do not work and there is disaggregation.

What is the core mission?

Once something is digital, it can tell stories, provide communication.

So the old classic nations do not apply anymore.

I have to ask you this.

I want to put this in context.

I want you to answer the tagline that is always put on the aol-time warner merger, which is that it was the worst deal in history.

How do you feel about that, that it was a legacy that you are a key player in?

The way i would answer that, betty, is that ultimately with the crash of the market and unfortunate clash of corporate cultures, there was underlying it a notion that persists to this day -- and i am not justifying it.

It did not work.

It was meant to be a watershed transaction.

But the underlying strategy was that in order for what we now call a legacy media company to really advance in the new internet age, you needed to put those capacities together and have what we will call the new age-internet entrepreneurship, which is being recognized at that time on the stock market and today is being recognized by the stock market with a lot of failures in between.

That is exactly right.

You might have been ahead of your time and maybe the timing was off there because now you are seeing this merger.

Your say new and old, digital print and television.

What you're seeing is the disruption of all the existing forces.

It started with music and it has reached into every corner.

I think that is the underlying issue of even the potential offer.

Where do you go in this new age?

Here it is 14 years later and people are still trying to answer that question, except we have a lot of new companies on the playing field, and some that have readopted like amazon and apple.

Maybe they are going to lead the way in the future, and it will not just be the five movie companies.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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