AT&T will reportedly buy Time Warner for $80 billion, the companies announced Saturday, in a move that would create one of the largest media conglomerates in the United States.
The proposed acquisition would give AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications company, control of Time Warner’s sizable portfolio of media properties, including the news network CNN and the premium cable channel HBO.
Saturday’s announcement is not the end of the multibillion-dollar deal. Acquisitions of this magnitude must clear numerous regulatory hurdles before they can be finalized. The New York Times has more:
The deal is known as a vertical integration of a distribution company and a content company. The last comparable merger was Comcast’s $30 billion deal for NBC Universal in 2009. The review of that acquisition involved the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission, and the deal was approved.
Because Time Warner and AT&T do not traditionally compete against each other, the argument against the deal would be that a combination would reduce choices for consumers. Any concerns over how AT&T, which recently bought DirecTV, would treat Time Warner programs like HBO’s “Game of Thrones” or cable networks like CNN could be addressed in conditions attached to an approval.
The purchase could nonetheless arouse major opposition. In a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday shortly before the announcement, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump denounced the proposed merger.
Trump, a vociferous critic of mainstream media organizations, said his administration would reject the deal because “it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”