Well, we are one step closer to one company to rule them all. Sorry, that line was meant for Disney, Comcast and Fox. But it is appropriate here as well.
AT&T and Time Warner have closed their $85.4 billion merger, just two days after receiving regulatory approval from a judge, the telecom company announced on Thursday.
Under the terms of the merger, Time Warner Inc. shareholders received 1.437 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $53.75 in cash, per share of Time Warner Inc.1 As a result, AT&T issued 1,185M shares of common stock and paid $42.5B in cash. Including net debt from Time Warner, we now have $180.4B in net debt.
“The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate. Combine all that with AT&T’s strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement. “We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.”
Stephenson said the future of media entertainment is rapidly converging around three elements required to transform how video is distributed, paid for, consumed and created. Today, AT&T brings together:
Premium Content: Broadly distributed, robust premium content portfolio that combines leading movies and shows from Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, along with more targeted digital content from Bleacher Report, FilmStruck and AT&T’s investment in Otter Media, among others.
Direct to Consumer Distribution (D2C): AT&T has more than 170 million D2C relationships across its TV, video streaming, mobile and broadband services in the U.S., mobile in Mexico, TV in Latin America, in addition to D2C digital properties such as HBO NOW, Boomerang, FilmStruck and CNN.com.
High-Speed Networks: AT&T‘s leading wireless and fiber network, including investments in new technology such as 5G, will provide the network bandwidth required as customers increase engagement with premium video and emerging 4K and virtual reality content.
Jeff Bewkes, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc., has agreed to remain with the company as a senior advisor during a transition period. “Jeff is an outstanding leader and one of the most accomplished CEOs around. He and his team have built a global leader in media and entertainment. And I greatly appreciate his continued counsel,” Stephenson said.
As previously announced, leading the four businesses and reporting to Stephenson will be:
John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications;
John Stankey, CEO of AT&T’s media business;
Lori Lee, CEO of AT&T International and Global Marketing Officer of AT&T Inc.; and,
Brian Lesser, CEO of AT&T’s ad and analytics business.
All of Jeff Bewkes’ direct reports will now report to John Stankey.
A DoJ official had this to say, “continues to evaluate its options with respect to appeal.” The government has 60 days to appeal the decision, though U.S. District Judge Richard Leon told the DoJ in his decision that he didn’t believe they would be successful if they appealed.
Let’s also hope the new merger leads to higher-speed internet as my apartment could really use it. Looking at you, AT&T!