Mere hours after the U.S. Justice Department said it won't seek an injunction to stop the merger, AT&T announced Thursday night it has completed its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, the parent company of Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, CNN and HBO.
The news arrives just two days after a federal judge approved the deal with no restrictions, a decision that spurred Comcast to enter a bidding war with Disney for the key assets of 21st Century Fox.
The Time Warner acquisition gives AT&T control of not only DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.’ film, television and interactive divisions, but also Hanna-Barbera Productions and cable networks like HBO, CNN, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network. In addition, Time Warner jointly owns The CW with CBS.
“The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate," Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc., said in a statement. "Combine all that with AT&T’s strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience. We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.”
As a result of the merger, AT&T will be structured as four businesses: AT&T Communications, encompassing U.S. mobile, broadband, video and other telecommunications services; media business, whose name will be announced later, consisting of Warner Bros., Turner Broadcasting and HBO; AT&T International, providing mobile services in Mexico, and pay-TV service in South America and the Caribbean; and advertising and analytics, focusing marketing solutions.
AT&T veteran John Stankey will serve as CEO of the media division; Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Richard Plepler of HBO and John Martin of Turner Broadcasting will report to him. Jeff Bewkes, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner, will remain as a senior adviser during the transition.
Announced in October 2016, the acquisition of Time Warner follows AT&T's 2015 purchase of pay-TV provider DirecTV for $50 billion.