Television Business International

AT&T CEO: Time Warner deal ‘moving as expected’

Time Warner’s proposed merger with AT&T is “moving along as expected”.

Randall StephensonThe chairman and CEO of US telecoms giant AT&T, Randall Stephenson, told analysts on an investor call his firm was “working closely” with the US Department of Justice to ensure the deal went ahead, and that progress had been made.

AT&T announced it had reached an agreement to buy HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. parent Time Warner for a total of US$108.7 billion in October last year.

The deal has since received the go-ahead from the European Commission, and now needs regulatory greenlights in the States. Stephenson said that as there “no licence transfers involved”, he did not anticipate media and telecoms watchdog the FCC reviewing it “at all”.

In February, Time Warner’s shareholders overwhelmingly backed the deal, but questions marks do remain where President Donald Trump, who is in open warfare with Turner news net CNN, stands on the deal.

Ovum analyst Ed Barton has claimed a merged AT&T-Time Warner business would pose a major threat to rivals such as Comcast, 21st Century Fox, Viacom and The Walt Disney Company.

In theory, the new business would be able to bundle programming and movies from Time Warner’s various groups with AT&T’s internet and phone services at customer-friendly prices, putting it in a very strong position in the US and internationally.