World Economy

AT&T Completes Acquisition of Time Warner

AT&T Completes Acquisition of Time WarnerAT&T Completes Acquisition of Time Warner

AT&T announced Thursday evening that it has completed the acquisition of Time Warner. The announcement comes two days after a judge ruled that the deal does not violate antitrust laws. “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,” Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, said in a statement as reported by CNN Money. “We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.” Time Warner head Jeff Bewkes is now officially the former chairman and CEO of the company. He will be a senior advisor during a transition period, AT&T said. Bewkes’ direct reports will now report to John Stankey, who is the CEO of AT&T’s media business. Earlier Thursday, the US Justice Department said in a court filing that it would not ask for a stay to stop the merger, and the companies and the justice department together said that the deal could be closed immediately. On Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon had approved AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, rejecting the government’s antitrust objections. The justice department may still appeal the judge’s ruling in the case. “This does not mean we have made a decision about an appeal,” a Justice Department spokesperson said. “We are still evaluating options.”

The deal will unite Time Warner’s TV shows and movies with AT&T’s enormous distribution system, including cell phone and satellite networks. AT&T argued the deal was critical to its survival in an industry increasingly dominated by Netflix, Facebook and other newcomers. The justice department said a combination would harm competition and raise prices for consumers. Officials in the department’s antitrust division were “disappointed but not surprised” because the judge seemed to cast doubt on their arguments during trial, a source with knowledge of the department’s thinking said.


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