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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

AT&T Buys Time Warner: An Expansive Strategy Amid Industry Uncertainty

After Comcast’s $30 billion takeover of NBCUniversal and Verizon’s acquisitions of the Huffington Post and Yahoo, AT&T agreed on October 22, 2016 to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. The ability to produce content and deliver it to millions of viewers “with wireless phones, broadband subscriptions and satellite TV connections was not lost on either board.[1] At the time, AT&T sold “wireless service in a saturated market, while Time Warner [was] a content company whose primary assets, networks like CNN and HBO, [faced] tougher times in a cord-cutting world.”[2] Although AT&T’s board could be accused of empire-building wherein bigger is better (i.e., more powerful), the stabilizing impact of combining wireless service and content could hardly be ignored in a business-environment so full of change and uncertainty. In other words, with the traditional television industry facing such dire threats to its revenue-structure due to the proliferation of high-tech substitutes, having the wherewithal to formulate and experiment with different distribution means and even content was at the time a fitting strategy.

The full essay is at "AT&T Buys Time Warner."


1. Michael J. de la Merced, “AT&T Pledges $85 Billion To Acquire Time Warner,” The New York Times, October 23, 2016.
2. Farhad Manjoo, “AT&T-Time Warner Deal Is a Strike in the Dark,” The New York Times, October 24, 2016.