Look Out, Comcast! AT&T in Talks to Acquire Time Warner
AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire Time Warner Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports, and the deal may come together as soon as this weekend.
The move would give the telecommunications giant control over Time Warner’s fancy slate of popular networks like CNN, TNT, TBS and even HBO, Cartoon Network and the entire Warner Bros. film and TV studio.
Oh my. Look out, Comcast!
With such a merger, AT&T will position itself in the media and entertainment space, too, much like how Comcast has done in recent years.
Since acquiring NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast has complemented its cable infrastructure and distribution with NBC’s coveted content. With NBCUniversal, the cable company owns the broadcast rights to the Olympics until 2032, for example, and the recent acquisition of DreamWorks animation has given the company an edge with animated films, TV shows and live entertainment.
But AT&T wants to gobble up some shares of the media ecosystem, too.
The deal would be a “millennial merger,” one that represents the “tectonic shift in media consumption,” NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway told Bloomberg News. More and more, millennials want better content and they want it to be distributed on their phones. The deal would allow AT&T to meet that demand. Right now, AT&T has a broad network to leverage (it acquired DirecTV for $49 million last year), but little in-house content, unlike Comcast and Verizon, Forbes reports. And to clear up any confusion, Comcast tried to acquire Time Warner Cable in 2014, which is separate from Time Warner Inc.
The news of the possible merger comes after AT&T unveiled patented technology that may allow it to deliver high-speed broadband over electrical power lines, a groundbreaking development that would make it easier and cheaper to bring internet to places that are harder to access.
And we can go back and forth with this; the two companies are on the same court. Comcast is also tapping into what millennials want with investments in Buzzfeed and Snapchat. The company even has plans to provide wireless phone service by mid-2017.
While there’s a chance the deal may fall through, the tinkering alone confirms the continued convergence of broadband, media and communications.
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