Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has stated that Verizon is open for possible merger talks with media conglomerates Comcast, Walt Disney, or CBS Corporation. Merging with media companies like Comcast, Disney, or CBS is important to the wireless carrier, as these companies have expertise in content creation and advertising, which Verizon needs to grow its mobile media and digital advertising business. The establishment of mobile media and digital advertising business is just one of the efforts of Verizon to pursue growth in the next few years despite the increasing competition in the wireless carrier industry. While Verizon thinks merging with Comcast is more beneficial for the wireless carrier due to the extensive fiber optic network across the country in addition to its media assets of the cable company, the wireless carrier has stated that it is willing to talk regarding possible merger deals with CBS or Disney.
The entry of the wireless carriers into other industries is not new, but given the increasingly competitive nature of their main businesses, larger national carriers like Verizon and AT&T have both gone on a spending spree to acquire businesses it sees as important to their pursuits. Verizon had purchased AOL and Yahoo, companies with substantial digital media assets, for more than $4 billion each in order to grow its digital media and advertising business. In addition, Verizon has also become a major global supplier of telematics services upon purchase of companies like Fleetmatics, which gave the wireless carrier a foothold in the business of connected fleet management. Meanwhile, AT&T has acquired Time Warner, the owner of HBO and CNN, for $85 billion. This merger, when approved, provides AT&T with a huge portfolio of media assets it could use in its foray into mobile media and the digital advertising business.
The rise of Donald Trump into the Oval Office provided an opportunity for the wireless carriers to pursue mergers, as the Trump administration is potentially more lenient with business regulations. Moreover, it is clear that the FCC under Ajit Pai wants to simply focus the FCC into regulating the airwaves, which in turn delegates other regulatory tasks to agencies like the Federal Trade Commission. This results in at least one less regulatory hurdle for possible mergers of the wireless carriers.