Update: AT&T Inc. has officially announced that they’ve agreed to buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion in an evenly deal split between cash and stock at $107.50 a share. The merger is expected to close by the end of 2017. The new association will be led by AT&T Chief Executive, Randall Stephenson. The deal will be delivering “enhanced access” to premium content to all its 315+ million customers in the United States.
One of the leading wireless companies in the world, AT&T, is reportedly acquiring the entertainment giant, Time Warner in a deal worth $80 Billion, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. As stated by sources, the contract is half cash and half stock which is expected to be priced between $105 and $110. The merger will involve AT&T taking over every entertainment as well as news brand Time Warner governs including HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Since it also overshadows DC Comics, AT&T will be also taking over Batman rights.
The move drives the telecom conglomerate further into also becoming a media company. That being said, AT&T closed a $48.5 billion deal for purchasing DirecTV last year. In the recent times, telecom operators have been trying to provide a deep integration of network and entertainment services in an effort for functioning both as content distributors and creators. The AT&T and Time Warner affiliation will definitely bring a significant impact on both the internet and entertainment industry in some or the other way.
While companies and brands are currently required to pay for delivering content directly to devices on AT&T networks, it is possible that this acquisition will provide preferential treatment to streaming video from Time Warner’s companies. If AT&T does decide to pay itself for freeing Time Warner brands from data caps under a pay-to-play scheme, they might face troubles under violation of net neutrality principles.
Moreover, FCC might have to imply some serious limitations on the merger as they’ve previously indicated apprehensions about whether the conditions placed on the Comcast-NBCU deal were impulsing enough. Hence, it is uncertain as of now, how regulators will affect the combination. WSJ sources mention that at the very least, there could be significant conditions placed on the acquisition.