Time Warner

AT&T gets approval to buy Time Warner for $85 billion

ATT-Time Warner

On Tuesday, AT&T got final approval to purchase Time Warner. The acquisition, which was first announced in 2016, had been blocked by the U.S. Justice Department. When the merger is completed, HBO, CNN, and film studio Warner Bros. will be owned by the No. 2 carrier in the U.S.

According to CNBC, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon approved the $85.4 acquisition without conditions. He also urged the U.S. government not to seek a stay.

In 2017, the Trump administration sued to block the merger, believing that AT&T, which owns DirecTV, could charge rival distributors more for Time Warner content, resulting in higher prices for consumers. AT&T said that logic didn't hold up, a position Judge Leon accepted.

The AT&T-Time Warner merger should close later this month. As AT&T General Counsel David McAtee explained soon after hearing the result:

We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.

In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said the Justice Department was disappointed by the decision, noting:

We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner. We will closely review the Court’s opinion and consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers.

CNBC believes this megamerger will spur a wave of deals in the telecom and media industries. Comcast-NBC Universal, for example, is now expected to fight Disney with a competing bid for parts of Twenty-First Century Fox.

Before AT&T's bid, there were rumors that Apple would make a play for Time Warner. However, those rumors turned out not to be true. Instead, Apple is working with content providers to bring original video content to properties like Apple TV and Apple Music as early as next year.

Besides HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros., Time Warner owns TBS, TCM, and TNT.

Image: Variety

CNBC: there’s no Time Warner bid coming from Apple “at this point”

U.S. wireless carrier AT&T recently announced it had agreed to buy Time Warner in a blockbuster deal valued at more than $85 billion.

Apple reportedly approached the media giant recently about a possible deal, but the discussions were only preliminary and didn't move forward.

With the AT&T-Time Warner merger requiring regulatory approval that could take months, things could easily change so no wonder watchers have been keeping their fingers crossed for Apple to step in and make a rival bid for Time Warner.

However, “Apple is not interested in buying Time Warner at present,” people familiar with the thinking at the company told CNBC on Wednesday.

AT&T and Time Warner discussing possible merger

Senior executives at AT&T and Time Warner met in recent weeks to discuss various business strategies, reports Bloomberg. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the outlet says that the talks are informal at this point, and neither side has hired a financial adviser, but the discussions have included the possibility of a merger.

Time Warner buys 10% stake in Hulu, new live-streaming service due in 2017

Time Warner is taking a ten percent stake in Hulu, joining existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Variety reported today. The move should help bolster Hulu's programming by adding content from Time Warner’s channels, like Turner networks and CNN, which will be part of a new pay TV service that Hulu wants to launch next year. Terms of the investment were not disclosed, but sources claim that Time Warner paid around $583 million for its stake in Hulu, boosting its valuation to a cool $6 billion.

Time Warner could be up for sale and Apple is reportedly a possible suitor

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes told the New York Post on Wednesday that he would entertain a sale of the company and industry sources contended that Apple could be among the possible suitors, with others said to include carrier AT&T, which now owns DirecTV, and Fox.

The rumour is interesting given Apple's failed attempts to create a skinny bundle of programming from existing content partners that was supposed to debut alongside the fourth-generation Apple TV in October 2015.

Time Warner CEO ‘pretty confident’ Apple is launching a TV service

Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes is "pretty confident" Apple is working on a subscription TV service. ABC's Jon Erlichman reports on Medium today that during Time Warner's quarterly earnings call, the CEO said that the Cupertino firm is "very forward thinking" on the future of television.

Bewkes' comments are interesting because Apple and Time Warner recently partnered up to launch 'HBO Now' on Apple TV, and rumors have been bouncing around for years that the two were looking to do TV together. In July 2013, Bloomberg reported they were "close" to reaching a deal.

FCC filing says Apple exploring development of a set-top box

Evidence is mounting that Apple is working on advancing its $99 set-top box around a bunch of new features like downloadable apps and games, iOS 7 game controller support, streamable television channels and subscriptions, DVR and wireless AirPort router capabilities, cable box functionality and what not. Whether any of this pans out is up for debate.

That said, surely Apple won't be standing still as new entrants like Amazon enter the crowded living room space. Perhaps the most solid piece of evidence to date comes in a filing with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) related to the planned Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger.

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