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When times get tough, media consolidates. Tech? Not so much.

Code Advisors partner Quincy Smith talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about the state of M&A on Recode Decode.

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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.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

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