Latino bloggers help take down AT&T merger
While yesterday’s announcement that ATT had decided to drop it’s $39 billion bid to acquire T-Mobile was met with disdain in some board rooms it was met with glee among Latino online activists. The failure of the merger may be the latest example of the emerging power of the Latino cyber world.
In it’s quest for merger approval AT&T went the traditional public relations route and had garnered support from major Latino organizations. At least fourteen organizations, led by the League of United Latin American Citizens and it’s CEO Brent Wilkes, had offered spirited public support for the merger. The acquisition of support from major Latino organizations has been a tried and true route that has led to success for major corporations facing federal policy challenges. However this time a blockade by Latino online activists blunted any support gained by AT&T ‘s Hispanic outreach efforts.
Online Latino bloggers and activists joined with their African American counterparts to stifle any support garnered by AT&T through traditional means. The battle had it’s casualties as Latino bloggers amplified any and almost all missteps made by Latino organizations and individuals supportive of the merger. Some of the results even included the firing of a top Latino non-profit executive.
While united Latino support could not alone have guaranteed merger approval corporations have come to realize that a lack of Latino support is becoming almost impossible to overcome. What was entirely new in the AT&T merger situation is that the opposition from Latino online activists was enough to muddy any real gains achieved through traditional public relations methods. It is yet to be seen if the public relations industry has even tracked how bloggers undermined the $36 billion deal.