×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AT&T, Time Warner Merger Review Reaches ‘Advanced Stage’ at Justice Department (Report)

The union of AT&T and Time Warner is looking more likely as talks on merger conditions between AT&T and Justice Department officials have reached an “advanced stage,” according to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported that the discussions about conditions that would be required to secure federal approval of the $85.4 billion transaction are centering around concerns that AT&T could give favorable treatment on its DirecTV platforms to Time Warner-owned content. Another issue has been how the telco giant would be able to handle consumer data mined from its wireless subscriber base and viewership of its channels.

The focus on potential merger conditions are seen as a sign that the Trump administration will not throw up roadblocks to the deal, despite President Trump’s vociferous criticism of CNN, part of Time Warner. The Journal noted that Time Warner’s stock price has been on the rise in recent weeks, another sign of increasing investor confidence that the merger will make it to the finish line.

A source said AT&T and Time Warner are hopeful that the Justice Department will be ready to formally present AT&T with its merger conditions by the end of next month. The status of the regulatory review of the agreement reached back in October had been in question for some months because of the political climate around the Trump administration and because the Justice Department does not at present have a head of its anti-trust division.

Media competitors have raised concerns about AT&T’s ability to withhold Time Warner channels such as HBO from rivals or dictate unfavorable pricing terms to rival content owners. Some Democratic lawmakers have also raised concerns about the latest round of concentration of media assets that the deal signals.

AT&T and Time Warner maintain that the merger will make both media giants stronger and offer greater competition in advertising and the video arena to the deep-pocketed tech giants — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple — who are moving swiftly in varying degrees into TV content and the MVPD market.

A rep for Time Warner declined to comment. AT&T could not immediately be reached for comment.

More TV

  • 'Walking Dead' Profits Dispute Heading to

    'Walking Dead' Profits Dispute Heading to Trial

    The long-running legal battle between Frank Darabont and AMC over profits from “The Walking Dead” will run a bit longer, as a judge ruled Monday that the case must go to trial. Darabont and CAA sued the network back in 2013, arguing he was deprived of $280 million in profit participation because AMC did not [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Sells Television City Production Studio

    CBS sold its venerable Television City production facility, one of Hollywood’s most storied production studios, in a deal the company says will give it more flexibility to invest in content for digital audiences. CBS said Monday it signed a definitive agreement to sell the sound stages and studios that have hosted programs ranging from “All [...]

  • Filmax Snags Top Spanish Kids Feature

    Filmax Snags Top Spanish Kids Feature ‘The Lunnis’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based sales agency Filmax announced today at Argentina’s Ventana Sur market, that it has acquired the rights to the film adaptation of RTVE’s preschool children’s part-puppet, part-live action and part-animated kids’ show “The Lunnis,” titled “The Lunnis and the Great Fairy Tales Adventure.” The announcement was made with an accompanying trailer for the film, slated [...]

  • Jean Marc Vallee

    Jean-Marc Vallée to Direct 'Gorilla and the Bird' Limited Series at HBO

    Jean-Marc Vallée has lined up yet another HBO project. Vallée has signed on to direct and executive produce the limited series “Gorilla And The Bird,” based on the memoir of the same name by  Zack McDermott, at the premium cabler. It is described as an inspirational tale of a mother’s unconditional love for her bipolar [...]

  • Joanna Klein Jennie Urman

    Jennie Snyder Urman, Joanna Klein Launch Prodco at CBS Television Studios

    “Jane The Virgin” creator Jennie Snyder Urman and development executive Joanna Klein have partnered to launch their own production company, Sutton St. Productions, Variety has learned. The duo has multiple projects in development under their new production banner, including the comedies “You’re Killing Me” for streaming service CBS All Access and “Riches to Rags,” which is in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content