Magazine article Variety

Mergers, Spinoffs and Trump: 2016 Revealed

Magazine article Variety

Mergers, Spinoffs and Trump: 2016 Revealed

Article excerpt

Mega-mergers, corporate leadership shake-ups, and lots more Trump. These are just a few of the major, industry-altering trends that Variety writers and editors predict will take place in 2016.

At the beginning of last year, few could have foretold the great changes in store in the worlds of technology, television and film. Relativity went belly up. Sumner Redstone's faltering health provoked a public relations crisis at Viacom and CBS. Comcast struck out in its quest to land Time Warner Cable, paving the way for John Malone's Charter Communication to swoop in.

Next year will have its own share of drama. From a possible sale of Time Warner, to Apple potentially buying Viacom, to a trip to the ivory tower for Sony Entertainment chief Michael Lynton, we're channeling Nostradamus and going out on a limb with what we project the big transactions will be over the next 12 months. Here's a look at the likely bidding wars, spinoffs and takeovers that will redefine the entertainment business.

APPLE GOES HOLLYWOOD

The kind of deal everyone is waiting for will finally happen in 2016: A tech giant is going to buy a content company. There's more than a few that have pockets deep enough, but look for Apple to make the plunge first. With more than $200 billion in cash on hand, the Cupertino colossus is poised to rewrite the rules of the media game. Viacom or HBO might seem the likeliest prey, but Sony Corp. is a juicier target given the mix of hardware and programming under its hood.

RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE CREATES WINDFALL

Political TV advertising will shatter all pre-existing records for the 2016 campaign and presidential race, renewing calls for curbs on spending that won't produce changes, no matter who wins.

TIME WARNER ON THE BLOCK

Time Warner will become an M&A target once again. Bidders could be some of the usual suspects - 21st Century Fox, for one - or a surprising contender like Patrick Drahi's Altice. Time Warner conversely may look to bolster itself against unwanted advances by bulking up with ITV or Discovery Communications.

DONALD TRUMP GETS HIS DREAM JOB

Donald Trump (1) will not be the next president - or the Republican nominee. But after he ends his campaign, he will host his own talk show. While Fox News would be the logical place, Trump will aim for something bigger, like his own branded channel.

MEET PROFESSOR LYNTON

Michael Lynton (2), an intellectual who's fulfilled his ambitions in Hollywood, will leave his post as the CEO of Sony Entertainment and either go into academia or lead a nonprofit. …

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