AT&T said Saturday it has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at $107.50 per share. The deal combines Time Warner’s vast library of content with AT&T’s extensive customer relationships, world’s largest pay TV subscriber base and leading scale in TV, mobile and broadband distribution, the company stated.
Any sale still has to be approved by regulators, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department.
According to AT&T, the combined company will strive to become the “first U.S. mobile provider to compete nationwide with cable companies in the provision of bundled mobile broadband and video, and will disrupt the traditional entertainment model and push the boundaries on mobile content availability for the benefit of customers.”
Republican nominee for president Donald Trump said at a press rally on Saturday in Gettysburg, Pa. that he would block such a transaction if he wins the election, calling the proposed acquisition “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
Time Warner is comprised of three divisions, including domestic premium pay television and streaming services (HBO Now, HBO Go), Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Turner, which consists of U.S. and international basic cable networks, including TNT, TBS, CNN and Cartoon Network/Adult Swim.
Anticipating regulatory issues, AT&T said Time Warner provided significant benefits because its business is lightly regulated compared to much of AT&T’s existing operations.
“Premium content always wins. It has been true on the big screen, the TV screen and now it’s proving true on the mobile screen,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO in a prepared statement. “We’ll have the world’s best premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen. A big customer pain point is paying for content once but not being able to access it on any device, anywhere. Our goal is to solve that.”
AT&T and Time Warner are currently determining which FCC licenses, if any, will be transferred to AT&T in connection with the transaction. To the extent that one or more licenses are to be transferred, those transfers are subject to FCC review. The transaction is expected to close before year-end 2017.