We’ve seen this before, of course. Nearly a decade ago, the AOL‐Time Warner combination was fraught with similar peril. A vertically integrated content and distribution network threatened not just to raise costs, it was also a step toward media oligarchy, threatening the information core of our fragile democracy.
Except that it wasn’t. Content and distribution are two very different businesses, and a Reuters report last month called AOL‐Time Warner “one of the most disastrous corporate mergers in history.” This week, AOL will begin trading separately on the New York Stock Exchange again.