No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier AT&T Inc. on Thursday closed its $85 billion deal to acquire media company Time Warner Inc after U.S. antitrust regulators indicated they would not seek a delay.
"The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate. Combine all that with AT&T's strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience," said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc. "We're going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers."
Stephenson said the future of media entertainment is rapidly converging around three elements required to transform how video is distributed, paid for, consumed and created. Today, AT&T brings together a premium content portfolio that combines leading movies and shows from Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, along with more targeted digital content from Bleacher Report, FilmStruck and AT&T's investment in Otter Media, among others.
AT&T has more than 170 million D2C relationships across its TV, video streaming, mobile and broadband services in the U.S., mobile in Mexico, TV in Latin America, in addition to D2C digital properties such as HBO NOW, Boomerang, FilmStruck and CNN.com.
In addition, AT&T's wireless and fiber network, including investments in new technology such as 5G, will provide the network bandwidth required as customers increase engagement with premium video and emerging 4K and virtual reality content.
The deal was opposed by President Donald Trump. AT&T was sued by the Justice Department, but won approval from a judge to move forward with the deal on Tuesday. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the deal to marry AT&T's wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner's movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.
The U.S. Justice Department claimed that AT&T's ownership of both DirecTV and Time Warner would give AT&T unfair leverage against rival pay TV providers.
The AT&T ruling is expected to trigger a wave of mergers in the media sector, which has been upended by companies like Netflix Inc and Google.
The first to come was Comcast's $65 billion bid on Wednesday for the entertainment assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.