World News – If AT&T wants to increase its market share this mega-deal is a good way.
AT&T has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner for more than $85 billion, a blockbuster deal that fuses a mobile giant with an entertainment conglomerate, carrying with it the potential to reshape the media landscape.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the deal. The two companies on Saturday jointly announced the deal, unanimously approved by both boards, that will see the mobile company pay $107.50 per share in a cash and stock transaction. The deal represents a marriage of Time Warner’s limitless movie and television empire with AT&T’s 315 million wireless subscribers.
“It’s a great fit, and it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders,” AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.
The deal, however, faces a stiff political and regulatory test. The populist winds buffeting Washington mean that legislators may not approve of another multi-billion corporate tie-up. Already, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in a speech that under a potential GOP White House, his administration would not approve the deal.
Calling the deal a “perfect match,” Stephenson said the combined company would have “the world’s best premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen.”
He added: “We intend to give customers unmatched choice, quality, value and experiences that will define the future of media and communications.”
The combination brings Time Warner full circle back to the heady days of the first Dotcom bubble, when it created a merger of equals with AOL—which failed spectacularly in achieving its goals and resulted in an eventual breakup.
The deal will pay off in the first year following the close of the transaction on a share and free cash flow basis, the companies said. AT&T expects to achieve $1 billion in savings within 3 years of the deal closing.
Through the acquisition, AT&T would acquire HBO, Turner Broadcasting System and Warner Bros., which would give them ownership of television channels, publications and websites.
Those include Cinemax, The CW, Cartoon Network, CNN, TNT and TBS, which has deals to carry MLB and NBA games, DC Comics, Bleacher Report, SI.com and NASCAR.com.
“Premium content always wins,” Stephenson said in the statement. “It has been true on the big screen, the TV screen and now it’s proving true on the mobile screen. We’ll have the world’s best premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen.”
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes called the deal “a great day for Time Warner and its shareholders.” Time Warner shareholders would receive $107.50 per share — $53.75 per share in cash and $53.75 per share in AT&T stock — under the agreement, AT&T said.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Bewkes is expected to leave the firm after the interim period following the deal. Bewkes has served as Time Warner’s CEO since 2008.
On Friday, Time Warner shares spiked nearly 8 percent to close at $89.48, while AT&T slumped 3 percent to finish the session at $37.49.
Earlier Saturday, AT&T told CNBC it has no comments on Trump’s remarks.
Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat who represents Minnesota and who has expressed concerns over consolidation in the media market, said the size of the AT&T and Time Warner deal “raises some immediate red flags.”
“I’m skeptical of huge media mergers because they can lead to higher costs, fewer choices, and even worse service for consumers,” Franken said in a statement, adding that he would be pressing for further details in coming days.
AT&T said the combined company “will disrupt the traditional entertainment model and push the boundaries on mobile content availability for the benefit of customers,” and will give customers “the largest amount of premium content at the best value.”
AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner includes a small $500 million reverse break-up fee, in a sign of confidence it will pass anti-trust review.
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and CNBC.
by JEEYEON PARK and PHIL HELSEL, From NBCNews.com, Edited by Dan Stevens