AT&T to acquire Time Warner for US$85bn, Trump vows to block it

The US telecom giant AT&T announced that it intends to buy the cable behemoth Time Warner for US$85.4 billion in a deal that could result in one of the biggest media companies in the US.

The deal combines Time Warner’s available content and ability to create new premium content that connects with audiences around the world, with AT&T’s extensive customer relationships, pay TV subscriber base and presence in TV, mobile and broadband distribution.

Time Warner is the parent of CNN, TNT, HBO, the Warner Bros. studio, and other channels and websites.

"This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement.

"The new company will deliver what customers want — enhanced access to premium content on all their devices, new choices for mobile and streaming video services and a stronger competitive alternative to cable TV companies," the statement said.

On the other hand, Time Warner’s chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, said the merger "will help us capitalise on the tremendous opportunities created by the growing demand for video content."

AT&T said it expected to close the deal by the end of 2017.

However, the deal has not been finalised and would be subject to regulatory approval.

Already, it has sparked the political controversy. US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Saturday that his administration would block such a massive merger between AT&T and Time Warner if he is elected president.

He argued that such media combinations leave "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

Trump also said that if he is elected, his administration would look at breaking up the 2011 merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal.

"Deals like this destroy democracy," he said.