Dallas-based telecom giant AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has announced an $86 billion deal to acquire film and television programming provider Time Warner, a move that likely would change the face of entertainment in the United States and speed innovation in the industry.
AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told CNN Monday morning that the deal would increase and speed innovation in the industry.
“We think this is exciting,” Stephenson said, because the acquisition will allow for more development of 5G technologies to distribute entertainment and other programming across mobile devices.
“This deal is unique from any deal we’ve ever done in any size,” Stephenson said. He said the deal was more vertical in its structure than AT&T’s acquisition of satellite system company DirecTV because Time Warner is a content creator and AT&T is a content distributor.
He also said that the deal for Time Warner was very different than its failed acquisition of competitor T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom AG in 2011. That effort was met with stiff opposition from regulators and legislators who had antitrust concerns.
According to Forbes, the Time Warner deal would bring together AT&T’s 132 million wireless customers and 26 million pay television subscribers through its U-verse and DirecTV brands with Time Warner’s roughly $30 billion revenue from its movie studio, Warner Bros., and its cable television networks — CNN, HBO, and TNT.
In a statement, Stephenson said, “This is the perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors, and advertisers.”
He said that the company intends, “to give customers unmatched choice, quality, value, and experiences that will define the future of media and communications.”
The deal will have to undergo federal review, and Politico reported that it will be heavily scrutinized.
It said that should he win, Republican presidential candidate would oppose the deal.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine intimated that a Hillary Clinton administration would be skeptical of the deal.
Time Warner Inc. (Nasdaq: TWX) is a separate company from Time Warner Cable (Nasdaq: TWC), which now is called Spectrum after Time Warner Cable’s merger with Charter Communications and Bright House Networks. That deal took effect earlier this year.
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