It’s the inevitable conclusion to an acquisition years in the making, especially after a US court gave its thumbs up. AT&T has just proudly announced that it has, at long last, completed its acquisition of Time Warner. This practically puts one of the US’ biggest entertainment companies into the hands of one of the country’s biggest telecom companies, creating a media giant that AT&T’s rivals will have a hard time toppling.
The announcement comes mere days after US District Judge Richard Leon said that AT&T can acquire Time Warner, despite the protests of the US Department of Justice. There will most likely still be some legal back and forth and questions on antitrust practices and monopoly but, at least for now, this the future we’re looking at.
That future involves properties such as Warner Bros, HBO, and Turner now under the fingers of AT&T, who already owns CNN, among others. AT&T also has DirecTV, among the other ways it can distribute digital content, like, you know, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE. If that doesn’t raise red flags, especially with the death of net neutrality, perhaps nothing will.
AT&T itself makes no qualms that it now has the “three elements required to transform how video is distributed, paid for, consumed and created”. That includes content, thanks to this acquisition, distribution, and high speed networks. Time Warner will mostly fall under AT&T’s media business and former chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes will stay as a senior adviser during the transition period.
AT&T’s success will most likely spur other giant companies to make such bold acquisitions. Comcast was already eying Fox, the latter of which is also being targeted by Disney. It won’t be long before these giant companies, owned by ISPs, have even greater control over how we consume content and, more importantly, how much we have to pay them for it.