This week, Bloomberg reported that AT&T is in “informal” talks to buy the media and entertainment giant Time Warner. Now, the timeline appears to be accelerating: The two companies are apparently in “advanced” talks that could lead to a deal being hammered out over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A merger between AT&T and Time Warner would be a historic deal. For starters, it could suddenly give AT&T control over a massive number of the world’s most valuable media brands. It would complete the transformation by the wireless carrier – already the nation’s second-largest – into a fully-fledged entertainment powerhouse, launching an entirely new chapter in the history of the telecommunications giant. And it would be no less another major sign that Internet providers are taking on a central role in consumers’ experience with television, online video and broadband.
The tie-up could see AT&T gain ownership over a dizzying array of household names. Time Warner – not to be confused with Time Warner Cable, which sold to Charter Communications earlier this year – owns HBO, meaning that AT&T could soon have the rights to “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” “True Detective” and dozens of other shows. It could own all the channels associated with the Turner Broadcasting System, including TNT and TBS. Under the Turner banner are also an array of sports programming such as the Bleacher Report, NCAA.com and NBA Digital, a partnership with the National Basketball Association.
Also potentially falling into AT&T’s hands could be the news channel CNN and all of its multinational operations. From political debate coverage to on-scene reports on hurricanes, all of CNN’s content would effectively belong to AT&T.
AT&T could come to own all of Warner Bros., which includes not only the Warner Bros. movie studio (which produced the hit “Harry Potter” films) but also New Line Cinema (which is responsible for the “Lord of the Rings” films). Warner Bros. also controls DC Comics, meaning AT&T would have the rights to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and a whole host of other pop culture icons.