A DEAL worth $85.4bn is by any standards a blockbuster. The agreement by wireless and pay-television giant AT&T to buy Time Warner, owner of Warner Bros, HBO and a trove of hit films and TV shows, is the biggest bet yet that the future of media will be dictated by massive companies that best marry distribution with content.
The merger, announced by the two companies in the evening on October 22nd, does not ensure that AT&T, a traditional telecommunications company, will end up as one of those winners. But Randall Stephenson, who as AT&T’s chief executive will steer the combined company, is assembling the pieces he believes he needs to get there.
AT&T just last year completed the $48.5bn purchase of DirecTV, a satellite provider, making the company the largest pay-TV distributor in America with 25m subscribers. AT&T is also the country’s second-largest wireless carrier, behind Verizon Communications. The company now is set to add one of Hollywood’s most storied studios in the form of Warner Bros, a prestigious cable network in HBO, valuable cable channels like TNT, TBS and CNN, and a rich library of film and…Continue reading