AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner represents a new bet on synergy between companies that distribute information and entertainment to consumers and those that produce it.
The acquisition would combine a telecom giant that owns a leading cellphone business, DirecTV and an internet service with the company behind HBO, CNN, and some of the world’s most popular entertainment, including “Game of Thrones,” the “Harry Potter” franchise and professional basketball. It’s the latest big media acquisition by a major cable or phone company — such as Comcast’s 2011 purchase of NBC Universal — and aimed at shoring up businesses upended by the internet.
Regulators would have to sign off on the deal, no certain thing. The prospect of another media giant on the horizon has already drawn fire on the campaign trail. Speaking in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump vowed to kill it if elected because it concentrates too much “power in the hands of too few.”
Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said the deal “raises some immediate flags about consolidation in the media market” and said he would press for more information on how the deal will affect consumers.
Network-owning companies like AT&T are investing in media to find new revenue sources and ensure they don’t get relegated to being just “dumb pipes.” In addition to the Comcast-NBC Universal deal, Verizon bought AOL last year and has now proposed a deal for Yahoo to build a digital-ad business.
After its attempt to buy wireless competitor T-Mobile was scrapped in 2011 following opposition from regulators, AT&T doubled down on television by purchasing satellite-TV company DirecTV for $48.5 billion. AT&T is expected to offer a streaming TV package, DirecTV Now, by the end of the year, aimed at people who have dropped their cable subscriptions or never had one.
The venerable phone company has to contend with slowing growth in wireless services, given that most Americans already have smartphones. And it faces new competitors for that business from cable companies. Comcast plans to launch a cellphone service for its customers next year.
In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd that aired on Sunday, Hillary Clinton’s running mate said that he agreed with Sen. Al Franken’s concerns that the merger may lead to “higher costs, fewer choices, and even worse service for consumers.”
“I share those concerns and questions,” We’ve got to get to the bottom of them,” Kaine said. “Generally pro-competition. And less concentration I think is generally helpful, especially in the media. But this has just been announced, and I haven’t had a chance to dig into the details. But those are the kinds of questions that we need to be asking.”
Kaine isn’t the only figure on the presidential ballot this year who appears sceptical of the deal, which will likely face intense regulatory scrutiny.
During a speech on Saturday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledged to block the acquisition on the grounds that it would give AT&T too much control of the telecom and media landscape.
“As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said.
Sanders called on the Obama administration on Twitter to: “kill the Time Warner/AT&T merger. This deal would mean higher prices and fewer choices for the American people.”
a mega merger..
“The acquisition would combine a telecom giant that owns a leading cellphone business, DirecTV and an internet service with the company behind HBO, CNN, and some of the world’s most popular entertainment”
sanders doenst want it..trump doesnt want it..kaine doenst want it..
“Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said the deal “raises some immediate flags about consolidation in the media market” and said he would press for more information on how the deal will affect consumers.”
so what will barry do?