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AT&T Businesses Cellphones Communications Network The Almighty Buck The Internet Wireless Networking News Technology

AT&T Considers Buying Time Warner (bloomberg.com) 60

In what would likely be one of the largest telecommunications takeovers in American history, Bloomberg is reporting that ATT has discussed the idea of a possible merger or other partnership with Time Warner Inc (may be paywalled; alternate source). Bloomberg reports: The talks, which at this stage are informal, have focused on building relations between the companies rather than establishing the terms of a specific transaction, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Neither side has yet hired a financial adviser, the people said. Acquiring Time Warner would give ATT, one of the biggest providers of pay-TV and of wireless and home internet service in the U.S., a collection of popular programming to offer to subscribers, from HBO to NBA basketball to the Cartoon Network. ATT CEO Randall Stephenson has been looking to add more content and original programming as part of his plan to transform the Dallas-based telecommunications company into a media and entertainment giant. Time Warner Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes is a willing seller if he gets an offer he thinks is fair, said one of the people. Bewkes and his board rejected an $85-a-share approach in 2014 from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc., which valued Time Warner at more than $75 billion. Last year, ATT paid $48.5 billion to acquire satellite-TV provider DirecTV, its biggest deal in at least 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. ATT has been developing an internet-based version of the pay-TV service, called DirecTV now.
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AT&T Considers Buying Time Warner

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  • Do not fuck with HBO!

    • Coming next season on HBO:

      GAME OF PHONES!

      Will Daenerys get a dead connection? Will the White Walkers expand their data plan? Find out more in the final season of Game of Phones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:04AM (#53122103)

    Dear AT&T,

    We already tried it. It didn't work out so well. You should learn from our mistakes.

    Sincerely,
    AOL

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:06AM (#53122119)

    How about buying Yahoo too then they can be the unholy trinity:

    The most despised web search engine, a highly reviled telecommunications company, and a cable company (they're all evil).

    EA will be relegated to only the 2nd most evil entity on earth.

    • Not actually the cable company. That was already bought by Charter, and it was named Time Warner Cable.

      Time Warner, Inc. is the content company that owns Time Magazine, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, HBO, Turner Broadcasting, etc.

      Yes, this is stupidly confusing.

    • > The most despised web search engine,

      I think Bing is despised more, and they provide the back end for Yahoo's shitty search results.

  • TWAT&T? (Score:5, Funny)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:09AM (#53122143)
    This is going to be fun!
  • Why don't these large corporations stop buying up other large corporations to create gigantic monopolies, and instead focus their spending on satisfying their customers? Oh, right... because they're greedy.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was going to say 'instead invest in improving their infrastructure.'

    • The market expects companies to grow at a certain rate no matter how big the company gets. The problem is that the larger a company gets the harder it is for it to keep growing at the same rate. Apple has been finding this out recently. Even though they are selling lots of phones the stock price isn't reflecting that because the analysts are always expecting Apple to sell more each quarter compared to the year before.

      The easiest, and sometimes the only, way for a company to grow at these expected rates i

      • And what happens when there's nowhere to grow? No more competitors to acquire? Their stock can't keep going up, since there's no growth. Eventually it will all come to a halt, and very likely come crashing down. When investors see no reason to buy in anymore because there's no growth left, their stock will tank as people sell. Can they survive that? I would think it would be more advisable to maintain status quo and have a few competitors than to hit that brick wall where there's nowhere to go.
        • We'll be dead by that time. The whole economy is based on the growth is good mantra. Let's build more homes and fill them with more stuff. Make the roads bigger to hold ever more cars because public transport is bad. More channels on your cable or satellite service. More artists on the music streaming service. As long as the net income keeps rising the stock price keeps going up and the investors are happy. As long as GDP keeps going up the economists and politicians are happy. Grow baby grow.

  • Block It (Score:4, Informative)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:22AM (#53122235) Journal

    The Feds should block this one if it ever comes close to being attempted. We have an absolute dearth of competition as it stands now. I looked at moving from Time Warner for my internet and found AT&T is the only option in my area. TW is okay, but overpriced and I have never heard a good thing about AT&T. Allow the two to combine and I get the worst of both worlds.

    • Re:Block It (Score:4, Informative)

      by ffejie ( 779512 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:56AM (#53122445)
      Time Warner is not Time Warner Cable. AT&T is not trying to buy their way into the ISP/Phone/Video space - they are already there with Uverse/DirecTV.

      Time Warner creates and owns content.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:29AM (#53122295)

    The only economic system the West hasn't tried on a serious level is Distributism and sadly, Distributism is the only system that answers this economic problem of having a faustian bargain of monopolies or government control. When a business has to operate on that dichotomy, society turns over the work to a non-profit corporation that manages the infrastructure as a social good, works fairly with the private sector and is sufficiently powerful to resist undue political pressure.

    If that sounds almost feudal, well it is influenced by the old feudal system. Under Distributism, such a corporation would not be state owned. It would be the equivalent of a feudal lord with a letter patent granting rights and authority to operate. That means Congress could still act and force its hand, but it would take Congress acting with a serious majority and mandate.

  • The Time Warner that ATT wants is Warner Bros content, and cable content like Cartoon Network. Time Warner Cable is the cable and Internet provider which was purchased by Spectrum. This clearly an attempt by ATT to compete with Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Warner Bros content

      No problem. AT&T just needs to spin off their broadband, cellular and telecom operations. And then they can become a content provider.

      I think this was behind the split between Time Warner (Warner Bros) studios and Time Warner cable. some years ago. To avoid antitrust problems. And those reasons should still be valid.

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        The Time Warner/Timer Warner Cable split had nothing to do with antitrust problems. Time Warner was primarily a content business, and the capital (and debt) heavy cable business was a bad fit. So they spun it off.

        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          So they spun it off.

          So getting saddled with another capital and debt laden division now is a good idea why? If TWC was a stinker, then it stand to reason the AT&T will be a stinker as well. Unless it turns out that not being affiliated with a carrier is harmful to a content provider's business model. Like our network will carry your content only if your network carries our content. Sounds like mob bosses divvying up territory.

  • ...because some old time execs at AT&T want to party like it's 1982 again!

  • We don't have enough competition. The FCC has already allowed content distributors to be owned by Media Companies (Comcast/NBC as example). We need MORE internet freedom, not legalized cartels. What we are seeing is CORRUPTION, where the money from corporate interests is more important to regulatory approvals than the needs of the people. It's funny how the "freeest country in the world" is getting more controlled while former regimes like Germany and much of Europe are freeer and have much more competition

  • AT&T sucks on the customer service and billing side. TWC sucks on the signal reliability side. When they merge, they'll cover the full spectrum of suckage. Perhaps that's why TWC is changing its name to "Spectrum".

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      That would be so much wittier and insightful if only Time Warner Cable had anything to do with this story.

  • OK, allow the purchase to take place. But then apply the FCC's authority over common carriers to the entire entity. Because nobody can be expected to pry apart the (necessarily proprietary) entanglements, cross division subsidies and preferential pricing deals that the separate parts can engage in.

    Time Warner, you want a federal regulator crawling around in the studio system (as close to organized crime as this country permits to exist)? Have fun.

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