Increasingly, the lines that once separated tech and media are blurring, if not disappearing — but there’s still a big gap in how those industries do M&A.
“A media company's job is to be — defense isn’t the right word,” Code Advisors partner Quincy Smith said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “But it’s to be up there and smart about assets they have. When things get tough in media, they tend to consolidate. When things get tough in technology, they really laser-focus on the product and really don’t buy anything at all.”
That’s why you see AT&T trying to buy Time Warner for $85 billion, but no deals of that magnitude emanating out of Apple or Facebook.
“Nobody’s up here [in San Francisco or Seattle] desperate enough to think, ‘Oh my gosh, I really got to do a curveball,” Smith said. “‘Let’s put a bid on the NFL!’ I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
Smith previously worked at Netscape and CBS Interactive and — disclosure — advised Revere Digital, the company founded by Swisher and Walt Mossberg that used to own Recode. He said the potential for huge new M&A deals in tech is even less likely now than it would be otherwise, in part because of artificial intelligence.
“There have been more deals done in the semiconductor industry in the last two years than in the last nine,” he added. “As something ends, they all merge with each other. But you think about our world — social media, or internet — overall. Rather than looking like it’s coming to some finite end of some kind, all of a sudden AI pops up. A lot of the guys that are big, the incumbents, don’t need to buy any more.”
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.