That’s the rumor percolating through the markets now anyway. Executives of AT&T and Time Warner are said to be or recently have been in ‘informal talks’ about a possible merger. If a deal were to actually happen, it would be bigger than AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV last year given Time Warner’s current marketcap north of $60B.
The largest network operators in the USA sure do have a penchant for content right now. Verizon of course has AOL under its umbrella and Yahoo on the way, while Comcast of course already owns NBC Universal after once trying to take out Disney. AT&T has done the least so far, and hence is probably at least seriously considering such a move just to keep pace. Time Warner’s prized media possessions include HBO, which is making headway in OTT, cable channels like CNN, TBS, and TNT, and the movie studio Warner Bros.
Nevertheless, count me as a skeptic on this one. Yes it’s a real trend, and yes I can see why they’d be talking. But just where the magic really is in these sorts of combinations is a bit harder to see from my point of view, at least so far. For a company the size of AT&T, risking a few billion or even 10 trying to find the right way to combine wireless, wireline, and media is one thing, but $70B or more might be a bit too much — especially given the ugly regulatory fight that would surely ensue with the ever-more-likely incoming Clinton administration in Washington DC. (oops, politics mode re-disabled)
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