Merger talks began at East Village bar

The tie-up between Darrell Silver and Stephen Foley may be the most hotly anticipated merger of old media and tech since AOL Time Warner — but it is no hasty deal.

While the agreement was finally sealed on a lakeside bench in Hangzhou, China, in 2016, when Mr Silver put his formal proposal to Mr Foley, talks began in the less salubrious surroundings of an East Village dive bar several years earlier.

The occasion was the wildly popular "$2 Bud" night at The Phoenix and, meeting through mutual friends, the pair fell into a long discussion about politics, Mr Silver recalls.

"I remember it like it was yesterday. We discussed Hillary Clinton’s prospects of becoming president. She'd just announced she was running for the Democratic nomination a few weeks earlier, and was the frontrunner by a mile," he says. "It was 2007."

In the intervening years, Mr Silver has made Mr Foley an early adopter of new technology, whether he likes it or not. ("I do not like it," he says. "Alexa and Siri are deliberately misunderstanding my accent.") Mr Foley, meanwhile, has introduced Mr Silver to the dubious pleasures of the Eurovision Song Contest.

At the moment the couple exchange vows — "for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, through storm in a teacup and tempest in a teapot" — the wedding will unite not just old media with tech but also two nations divided by a common language.

© Andrew Renault
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