Let's Make a Deal
The merger combines the nation's largest online service with an entertainment powerhouse that includes magazines, record companies, cable TV channels, a movie studio, and the Atlanta Hawks. More importantly, it signals the growing convergence of established media giants and their newer Internet counterparts.
"Buying Time Warner gives us what any Internet portal longs for -- content," America Online CEO Steve Case said. "With properties like CNN, Warner Brothers, and most importantly, Atlanta Hawks center Diekembe Mutombo, we can give our subscribers the entertainment options they crave. And that gives us a leg up on our competitors."
Jan. 14: Leading Internet portal Yahoo upped the stakes in the simmering media wars today when it purchased entertainment giant Disney in a $200 billion stock swap.
"When you think of the best in family entertainment, you think of Disney," said Michael Eisner, who will head the merged conglomerate. "When you think top portals, you think Yahoo. Combine the two and you know what I say? 'Yahoo, Disney!'"
The first impact of the merger is already being felt. Disney-owned ABC announced it would change its slogan from "America's Broadcasting Company" to "ABC -- the network for Yahoos."
"We're keeping the yellow look, though," Eisner said.
Yahoo Disney also hopes to cross-promote its entertainment and online properties. Eisner outlined plans where Yahoo Web searches will now incorporate ABC stars.
"Let's say you're looking for Web sites about pants," Eisner said. "And all of a sudden, a computer generated Jenna Elfman pops up to tell you what her favorite URLs are. You would go there, wouldn't you?
"I know I would," Eisner added.
Jan. 17: Fresh off its merger with Viacom, CBS announced another blockbuster deal with its $272 billion purchase of AT&T. The merged company will control a TV network, production studios, long-distance phone service, cable operations and high-speed Internet lines.
"Let Disney and Time Warner bet the farm on risky upstarts like Yahoo and AOL," said Mel Karmazin, president of the newly formed AT&CBS. "Here at CBS, the network of JAG and Nash Bridges, we're much more comfortable with an old reliable like AT&T."
As part of the merger, Viacom agreed to sell its stake in the fledging UPN network to MCI Worldcom.
"[MCI Worldcom CEO] Bernie Ebbers owes me a favor anyhow," Karmazin chuckled.
CBS immediately announced plans to develop a new fall series entitled The Adventures of Ma Bell, in which a kindly grandmother (Angela Lansbury) will lecture viewers about the importance of making lengthy long distance phone calls during peak billing hours.
Jan. 18: The ongoing wave of media mergers picked up steam today as General Electric sold its NBC television unit to General Motors for $300 billion.
"Being part of the largest company in the world helps us keep up with the Joneses," a beaming Robert Wright said as he climbed behind the wheel of a shiny new Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.
"This is not your father's Oldsmobile," chuckled Wright, the CEO of GM's new TV and automotive parts division. "And this is not your father's NBC."
Programming chief Scott Sassa unveiled a cross-promotional campaign for the newly merged GMNBC, where new automobiles will play prominent roles in upcoming NBC productions.
"Maybe Frasier will be seen driving a Pontiac Firebird," Sassa explained. "Or Will and Grace can argue humorously about whose turn it is to wash the Chevy Camaro."
Sassa also outlined how the top-rated ER may be used as a promotional tool.
"In an upcoming episode, a patient will die after a major car wreck," Sassa said. "And Dr. Greene will shake his head sadly and say, 'This terrible tragedy would never have happened if that driver was behind the wheel of a Cadillac DeVille.' Because really, this is all about the synergy."
"We're also looking forward to taking advantage of GM's Internet and cable properties," Wright added.
GM has no Internet or cable properties at this time.
"Crap," Wright said.
Jan. 19: In a stunning move, GMNBC announced it would buy both USA Networks and EarthLink for $500 billion.
"Some people may argue that we've overpaid," a smiling Wright said, as he revved the engine of a gleaming Chevy Blazer. "But I ask you, what better way to stick it to AOL Time Warner and Yahoo Disney. They'll find the new GMNBC is built Ford tough."
"Ford Tough" is the long-time slogan of the Ford Motor Co., which earlier today purchased Amazon.com and Universal Pictures owner Seagrams for $502 billion.
"Ah, shit," Wright said.
Jan. 20: In the largest merger since yesterday, AOL Time Warner & Yahoo Disney announced they would join forces, forming the largest TV network, movie studio, amusement park & cable operator in the world.
Under the terms of the deal, AOL Time Warner CEO Steve Case and Yahoo Disney chief Michael Eisner will share power, duties, salaries and wives.
"Imagine, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse under one roof," said Case, as Eisner rooted through his pockets. "Why, we might have a poll question on our online service, asking our online community to pick their favorite."
AOL immediately crashed and was out of service for the next six hours.
In a related story, the Time Warner-owned Atlanta Braves and Disney-owned Anaheim Angels announced plans to merge into a single team that would play its home games in Amarillo, Texas as the Amarillo BraveAngels.
"We look forward to being a valuable commodity in the AOL Time Warner Yahoo Disney empire," newly appointed BraveAngels manager Diekembe Mutombo said.
Jan. 21: After weeks of biding his time, Rupert Murdoch leapt into the thick of merger madness, purchasing drug maker Pharmacia Upjohn and merging it with his Fox television network.
"The addition of a top pharmaceutical firm like Pharmacia Upjohn adds untold synergies to the Fox family of entertainment properties," the Australian-born Murdoch said through an interpreter. "For one thing, TV stars are awfully fond of pills."
Pharmacia Upjohn recently acquired genetic engineering pioneer Monsanto -- a fact that was crucial to Fox's interest.
"Think about it," Murdoch said. "Instead of developing new shows from scratch, we can use genetics to clone smash-hit programs."
With that, Murdoch introduced five genetically engineered clones of X-Files star David Duchovny, which have been signed to appear in a hospital drama, a news magazine, two sitcoms and as the starting second baseman for the Los Angels Dodgers.
"That's the Monsanto Dodgers," Murdoch said.
Jan. 23: AT&CBS continued its buying spree, snapping up Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., and Alcoa for a record $833 billion.
"Don't talk to me about the flash-in-the-pan Internet," CEO Mel Karmazin said. "At CBS, we like old-fashioned things. Things like the old-fashioned wisdom that comes in an episode of Touched By An Angel. And things like the old-fashioned strength and reliability of aluminum."
"Aluminum is our future, by gum," Karmazin added.
Jan. 24: In a deal that overshadowed Monsanto Fox's $900 billion purchase of Cisco Systems, 3Com and Hewlett-Packard, GMNBC bought Dell Computer and eBay for $950 billion and "a night with Jennifer Anniston that Michael Dell won't soon forget."
"Computers, cars, online auctions and Must-See TV," said CEO Robert Wright. "Does it get any better than that?"
To take full advantage of the purchase, NBC announced plans to drive up its merchandising revenue with special offers on eBay.
"Did you like that jacket Matthew Perry was wearing on Friends last night? Make a bid," Wright said. "Want to get your hands on that spleen Dr. Carter was tinkering with? Head for NBCBay. Think Christina Applegate is just the cat's meow? She can had for a song."
The ownership of human beings is expressly forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.
"Oh, fuck you," Wright said.
Jan. 26: Apple Computer took the world by surprise with an announcement that it would make an unsolicited takeover bid of AOL Time Warner Yahoo Disney.
"Here at Apple, we like to think different," CEO Steve Jobs said. "And no computer company has ever joined forces with a media conglomerate."
When it was pointed that Dell Computer became folded into media giant GMNBC just two days ago, Jobs skulked off the stage and spent the next two hours browbeating a subordinate.
Jan. 27: In a move that was long expected, Microsoft announced that it would be joining forces with Hell in a $1 trillion stock deal.
"Bill Gates has long been a loyal disciple of mine," Hell Chairman and CEO Satan said in a prepared statement. "With Microsoft's diabolically efficient Windows operating system, our company is now positioned to achieve maximum market share and return on investment."
"All hail my dark lord Lucifer," a smiling Gates declared. "Submit before his icy gaze, and feel the power of the black netherworld rising up within you."
Gates' appointment as Hell's chief operating officer forces out Satan's long-time second-in-command, Moloch, who's expected to take a similar job with the Times Mirror Co.
"Cowardly mortals, brace yourself for the torment of a thousand years of brimstone and fire," Gates said. "Bow down before our awesome torrent of hellfire. And expect a Windows upgrade sometime by mid-summer."
The Microsoft merger overshadowed Hell's earlier purchase of GMNBC for $1.5 trillion.
"Many NBC promotions executives were doomed to an eternity in the Lake of Sulphur anyhow," Satan explained. "So this seemed like a natural."
Jan. 29: The latest round of media mergers drew to a close today when AOL Time Warner Yahoo Disney announced a multi-part merger with AT&CBS Mining Co., Hell GMNBC, and all remaining components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The new mega-company will be headed by the fused body parts of Michael Eisner, Bill Gates, Steve Case, Jeff Bezos, Rupert Murdoch, Larry Ellison and Ted Turner.
"It just seemed like a natural to join forces," Eisnergatescasebezosmurdochellisonturner said. "By bringing together our capabilities in the entertainment, high tech, pharmaceutical, precious metals, automotive and other industries, we're better able to serve our customers who, ironically, all work for us now."
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