AT&T buying HBO and CNN owner Time Warner for $85.4 billion

AT&T buying HBO and CNN owner Time Warner for $85.4 billion

AT&T has reached an agreement to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, combining the telecom and entertainment companies to create a media giant. That's the closest parallel to AT&T's proposed blockbuster purchase of the parent company of CNN, HBO and Warner Bros., among others. AT&T had been scheduled to report results on Tuesday but instead released them less than an hour after announcing its acquisition of Time Warner.

AT&T will pay $107.50 a share - a big premium over where Time Warner stock was trading last week.

The American Cable Association, which represents independent US cable TV operators, said on Saturday that "combining valuable content with pay-TV distribution causes harm to consumers and competition in the pay-TV market", and urged regulators to closely examine the deal.

Traditional audiences are dropping off: Some 1.4 million USA customers cancelled paid television subscriptions in the past year, according to research house SNL Kagan. Bewkes has served as Time Warner's CEO since 2008.

"Additionally, Comcast's purchase of NBC concentrates far too much power in one massive entity that is trying to tell the voters what to think and what to do".

Representatives of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Time Warner is one of the largest producers of premium TV shows and movies in the world. It even has a 10 percent stake in Hulu. The trend of "cord-cutting" - people getting TV over the internet - has eaten into the cable subscriptions that are vital to its networks.

AT&T called the deal "a ideal match of two companies with complementary strengths" when it announced the deal Saturday, but consumer groups are expressing concern, saying the new media colossus could limit consumer choice and spur more industry consolidation.

If the deal is approved, regulatory conditions could limit AT&T's ability to favor Time Warner video or give AT&T customers better deals.

"There's no competitor being removed from the marketplace, there's no competitive harm that is being rendered by putting these two companies together", said Stephenson. He believes the combination already is "vertically integrated in all but name".

Two years ago, Time Warner rejected a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox valued at $85 a share.

Yesterday we reported that AT&T was looking to snag Time Warner and they wanted to get the deal done quickly.

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The telecom and media sectors have been consolidating.

The venerable phone company has to contend with slowing growth in wireless services, given that most Americans already have smartphones.

The cash portion of the deal will be funded with cash and new debt.

This would also be the second megamerger for AT&T in the past year.

AT&T has only $7.2 billion in cash on hand. "Deals like this destroy democracy". The company sees $1B in annual run rate cost synergies within three years of closing. It hiked its quarterly dividend by a penny to 49 cents per share.

"DirecTV and Time Warner in a lot of ways is more similar than Time Warner and AT&T", he said.

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Programming and advertising present new ways to grow - though, given the problems the media industry is having, which are part of the reason that Time Warner is up for sale in the first place, they are not sure things. And new mobile technology including next-generation 5G networks could make a content tie-up especially attractive for wireless providers. He added that it's now proving to be true for the mobile screen.


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