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AT&T completes its acquisition of Time Warner

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AT&T has sealed the deal to buy Time Warner in a major piece of media and technology consolidation.

The deal — which is $85.4 billion and a total of $108 billion with debt — was first announced in October 2016 and, having passed a court approval earlier this week, it was completed on Thursday.

That’s a long cycle to complete a transaction, but this is a complicated one that sees AT&T take control of Time Warner, as well as HBO, Warner Brother’s film studio and its Turner channels. That’s likely to create a complicated web of conflicts, as both media distribution and content creation come together under the same parent.

“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,” Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, said in a statement. “We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.”

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The deal is vital for AT&T. The firm said it expects to save $2.5 billion in “synergies” and return to significant revenue growth within four years. For a snapshot, AT&T’s new look business — which will include Time Warner and Turner — generated some $31 billion last year alone.

This week’s court decision followed a government antitrust suit to block the deal on the grounds that the vertical merger — a term for when companies that provide different or complementary offerings join forces — could harm consumers, particularly on price. The deal was dubbed the antitrust case of the decade, and it was the first time a court has adjudicated over a vertical merger since cell phones were invented, and thus changed the media and distribution landscape.

Now done, AT&T-Time Warner has opened the gate for other mega media deals. This week, Comcast launched a $65 billion bid for Fox, setting up a battle with Disney which bid $52.4 billion in December.

Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Oath, a digital media subsidiary of Verizon which competes with Comcast and AT&T.



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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