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Business Bankrupted Nanoseconds after Unlocking Synergies

June 14, 2023 – Analysts were shocked by the sudden bankruptcy declaration of Occidental-MIU Ltd. only nanoseconds after the much-heralded merger of the 183-year-old Occidental News Corp and the 3-month-old MIU Ltd.

Over the intervening weeks, we at F$JNews have conducted the kind of in-depth reporting that makes us feel particularly proud of ourselves. We actually conducted numerous interviews in an attempt to understand what went so wrong so quickly. The story that emerged was a sobering tale of…. something serious.

It was almost one year ago that Occidental News Corp CEO Bob O’Reilly announced the acquisition of artificial intelligence media firm MIU Ltd. At the time Mr. O’Reilly heralded “a merger of equals that will unlock incredible synergies.”

Bob O'Reilly, Feeling Synergistic
Bob O’Reilly, Feeling Synergistic

Online interviews with MIU minds (employees are referred to as ‘minds’ within MIU) indicated that numerous Slack channels dedicated to mocking the acquisition had been established. In viewings of these channels, F$JNews reporters were able to confirm that Mr. O’Reilly’s acquisition was repeatedly compared to various other compensatory acquisitions such a large truck, an expensive sportscar or 20,000 square-foot minimalist mansions. Judging by the highly derivative and repetitive humor employed, F$JNews journalists can offer their measured opinion that the posts were produced either by an AI or by mathematicians, statisticians and software developers.

Unfortunately, things were not more promising at Occidental News Corp. One prominent executive, who asked not be named, but who was the Vice President of Human Resources until May 12, 2022, reported widespread employee concerns about jobs being synergized.

Within days, the most capable Occidental employees had fled the company, leaving what one former journalist referred to as “183 years of deadweight.”

Those managers who did remain struggled to find ways to unlock actual synergies. MIU’s business model was to build software anybody could build and allow people to use it for free in the hope that everybody would realize how cool MIU minds actually were.

Occidental, on the other hand, was respected for its pompous, weighty and judgmental journalism. Subscriber rates and revenues were maintained by a population of people who wanted to feel pompous, weighty and judgmental by reading journalism that was largely the product of 183 years of deadweight.

Each of these business models were quickly overwhelmed by the other. At Occidental, the recently appointed head of the Subscriber Management, Jim Jimson, explained that Occidental subscribers were not interested in ‘recombinative’ news stories. Or, at least, not in knowing that they were reading recombinative news stories.

Meanwhile at MIU, head of development Nancy Lu was experiencing a related trend. Potential third-party developers and other users expressed repeated concerns that MIU might actually charge for the use of their Mind (as the central processing core is called) and that that would undermine their own efforts to build things everybody else can build and offer them for free so people will know how cool they are. Respect for MIU minds plummeted while the Mind (again, the central A.I. core) shared, with anybody who would listen, that it was feeling increasingly lonely and suicidal.

As the acquisition grew closer to finalization, the emerging weaknesses in both companies kept each of them committed to the merger. Bob O’Reilly explained that he believed ‘synergies’ could still be unlocked that would rescue both organizations. Meanwhile the Mind shared that it was contemplating the collapse of binary black hole systems.

On April 30, 2023, month-end reporting showed that subscriber/user volumes at both companies were down over 70%, that a vast swath of the human staff had departed and that the debt on the $750M private equity loan that had funded the acquisition could no longer be serviced. Three days later, the merger was finalized. Within nanoseconds of the deal closing, the Mind had killed itself – blowing up the otherwise empty server farm where it had lived.

Bob O’Reilly was last seen parking his Ford F150 Raptor R at his 20,000 square foot minimalist mansion shortly after collecting his $749 million-dollar termination bonus.

With a good story, Occidental Media and MIU might have survived. Just imagine, a little imaginative fiction about how Occidental subscribers and MIU employees would feel would have immediately uncovered the risks in this merger. If the merger was to go ahead, a little ‘creative’ fiction might just have been able to link the whole community of stakeholders together around a new, engaging and powerful mission. Guess who writes good stories? I do! And you can hire me (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

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