Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes: 'Wonder Woman' Will Bring Females to Comic Book Movies
Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes says that Warner Bros. is poised to bounce back after a disappointing 2015. The media mogul predicted that the studio would turn the corner on a series of f...
By Brent Lang
AT&T to Buy Time Warner for Staggering $85.4 Billion
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Telecommunications giant AT&T agreed on Saturday to purchase Time Warner, home of HBO, CNN and parent company of DC Comics for a staggering $85.4 billion. This deal will see the creation of a company capable of producing brilliant content and also of distributing it to people in their millions via wireless phones, broadband and satellite TV connections. Both Time Warner and AT&T said that their…

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George: "Well this week, we have a special person for you on our program – None other than John Lennon of The Beatles. Well John, I believe you’ve written a bewk. And this bewk’s called ‘John Lennon In His Own Write,’ folks. W-R-I-T-E, you see. It’s a larf. It’s a larf a minute with John Lennon. Some of you might find it a bit difficult to understand – because you see, it’s in a sort of funny lingo. Well, we get it, you see. It’s full of larfs. I don’t really know how you could describe it. But, it’s sort of rubbish. Maybe that’s one way. Well, sitting on my left I have another person of the Beatles called Ringo Starr. What, Ringo, do you think of this book by John Lennon?“

Ringo: "Well, I think it’s marvelous. I mean, I’ve never read anything like it.”

George: (jokingly) “You’ve never read before, though, have you?”

Ringo: "No. I can’t read, you see. That’s why I’ve never. I mean, the stories are so funny, I just… Ha-Ha!! I mean, the titles are so funny. 'Partly Dave’ and what else have we got here? We got many a nice story. 'Sad Michael,’ that’s a sad story. 'The Famous Five through Woenow Abbey’ that’s a well-known place. 'Randolf’s Party,’ I mean, that’s one not to be missed by anybody. We also have 'The Wrestling Dog.’ Many little drawings which will make you laugh.“

George: "Larf.”

Ringo: "George is trying to lose his accent, you see.“

Time Warner enacts changes to fend off any future Murdoch takeover bids

Time Warner has changed its bylaws to prevent an unwanted takeover in the future. The move comes after the CNN parent company turned down an offer to be bought out by Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch last week.

The Time Warner board, led by CEO Jeff Bewkes, voted unanimously to remove a provision in the company bylaws that allowed shareholders to call special meetings. The change prevents shareholders from combining their holdings to reach the 15 percent threshold and call a meeting, the Financial Times reported. The bylaws now say that only the CEO or a majority of the board can call a special meeting. 

The move delays action by Time Warner investors until its annual meeting in June 2015, a person familiar with the change told Bloomberg. 

It looks like investors don't think the AT&T-Time Warner deal is actually going to happen

(Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg ® looks on as Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes speaks during a keynote address at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Investors don’t seem too convinced the AT&T-Time Warner mega-merger is going to go through, based on early market reaction.

Time Warner, which agreed to an acquisition by AT&T for $107.50 per share, is trading at only $87.91 per share as of 10:36 a.m. ET. Sure, the stock rose in the days before the deal was announced, but it’s still way below the offer price.

Traders could reap a 22% gain if they buy Time Warner stock now and the deal closes at that price. Typically, when an acquisition is announced, the share price jumps and trades much closer to the deal price.

People have been asking about the regulatory hurdles that AT&T and Time Warner will have to overcome since soon after Saturday’s announcement. 

Already, politicians are coming out against the deal with both presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton expressing skepticism about the potential deal along with Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Al Franken.

It’s worth noting that the Department of Justice has been quicker than usual to block large mergers in the past year, most notably Halliburton-Baker HughesAnthem-Cigna, Aetna-Humana, and Staples-Office Depot

AT&T and Time Warner’s response has been that the integration of the two companies does not hinder competition since the two firms compete in different areas — Time Warner creates content while AT&T delivers it. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defended the deal in an interview on CNBC.

“It’s a big merger, but it’s vertical integration and think about the area’s that have been really contentious over the last few years in our industry and in [Time Warner CEO] Jeff [Bewkes] industry, they have been horizontal mergers where the government was concerned about a competitor being taken out of the marketplace,” said Stephenson. “This has none of that.”

Stephenson and Bewkes have also reiterated this point in other media appearances since the deal was announced.

So far, it does not seem like investors are buying into the deal actually going through. Bloomberg calculates a deal probability, and right now puts the odds of this one closing at just 25%.

Here’s Time Warner’s stock price over Monday morning:

(Markets Insider)

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AT&T and Time Warner are reportedly talking about a merger

(Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner.Thomson Reuters)
AT&T and Time Warner executives have met to discuss business strategies that could include a merger, according to Ed Hammond, Alex Sherman and Scott Moritz at Bloomberg

The talks are informal, and neither side has hired an adviser, according to the report.

Time Warner’s share price jumped 5% on the news, while AT&T dropped 2.2%.

Time Warner has been an attractive target for several large companies. Apple considered buying the company earlier this year, according to the Financial Times.

It’s also another indication that service providers are getting more and more interested in owning and investing in content. Verizon recently bought AOL and is in the process of acquiring Yahoo. AT&T merged with DirecTV last year.

The Bloomberg report says Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is a “willing seller,” so expect to see more interest around the company.

A spokesperson for AT&T declined to comment.

This is probably a good time to mention that Bewkes and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will both be speaking at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in December. Should be fun!

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AT&T reaches deal to buy Time Warner for more than $80 billion

(Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

AT&T has reached a deal to buy Time Warner for between $105 and $110 per share, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. 

That puts the deal’s value at more than $80 billion. 

A formal announcement from the two companies is expected as soon as Saturday night.

The deal will allow AT&T to expand into the television business, picking up channels like HBO and CNN. 

Time Warner shares surged about 2.76% during after-hours trading. 

Former Fox executive Peter Chernin will likely oversee Time Warner’s operations, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Chernin declined a comment to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Time Warner deal will likely face intense scrutiny as it goes through the regulatory process. However, there is some precedent. Comcast, another operator, was allowed to acquire NBC Universal in 2013.

If the acquisition happens, AT&T would own a host of content from major networks like HBO, CNN, and TNT. It also signals an attempt by the operator to vertically integrate delivery of content and the content itself.

This would also be the second megamerger for AT&T in the past year. It merged with DirecTV in 2015 in a $49 billion deal. AT&T is working on a new online streaming TV service in conjunction with DirecTV that should launch later this year. The company’s goal is to eliminate the need for DirecTV satellite dishes and deliver all pay TV content over the internet by 2020.

Talks between AT&T and Time Warner were likely accelerated after Bloomberg reported Thursday that the two companies had held acquisition talks in order to hold off other companies that would be interested in buying Time Warner. Apple was said to have had talks to buy Time Warner earlier this year.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, laid out his opposition to the merger in a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday, and said that a Trump administration would not approve the deal.

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AT&T 'near an agreement' to buy Time Warner in multibillion dollar deal

(Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

AT&T reached a preliminary agreement Friday to acquire Time Warner for an estimated $85 billion, Reuters reported.

The blockbuster deal that would allow AT&T to pick up channels like HBO, CNN and film studio Warner Bros could be announced by Sunday, the report said. 

The two companies are said to be “near an agreement” in a deal that would value Time Warner at about $110 a share, according to Bloomberg.

Earlier on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T and Time Warner were in “advanced talks." After that, the acquisition would have to go through standard regulatory procedures before it would be allowed to close.

Time Warner’s shares were briefly halted after exploding on the news; they have now reached a 15-year high.

Former Fox executive Peter Chernin could oversee Time Warner’s operations if the deal is reached, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Chernin declined a comment to The Hollywood Reporter.

If the acquisition happens, AT&T would own a host of content from major networks like HBO, CNN, and TNT. It also signals an attempt by the operator to vertically integrate delivery of content and the content itself.

This would also be the second megamerger for AT&T in the past year. It merged with DirecTV in 2015 in a $49 billion deal.

Time Warner has apparently been for sale for some time. Apple thought about buying the company in May, for example, according to the Financial Times.

An AT&T representative declined to comment, and Time Warner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Time Warner is separate from Time Warner Cable, which sold to Charter last year in a $55 billion deal.

By the way, both Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will be at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in December. That should be interesting!

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