AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announced on Saturday that it has decided to acquire Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) in a transaction valued at $85.4 billion, marking the biggest deal so far this year.
The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, will give AT&T access to cable television channels including CNN, HBO and other coveted media properties. U.S. antitrust authorities will closely watch the deal as it could allow AT&T to restrict distribution of Time Warner content.
Time Warner will receive $107.50 per share from AT&T, half in cash and the rest in stock, worth $85.4 billion in total. AT&T expect the deal to close by the end of the next year.
Speaking at a rally on Saturday, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would stop any AT&T-Time Warner deal in case he wins the Nov. 8 election, saying it was an example of a power structure rigged against him. Trump has complained about media coverage of his election campaign, particularly by CNN. He added that ‘’it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
AT&T’s wireless phone and broadband service business is slowing down and the company has already started taking steps to turn itself into a media giant. It acquired satellite TV provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion in 2015.
Time Warner has a strong foothold in movies and television space. The New York-based company’s assets include Warner Bros film studio, CNN, TNT, TBS and HBO. It also holds a 10 percent stake in Hulu, a video streaming site.
AT&T shares opened at $38.40 on Friday, and after touching a low price of $36.96, finally closed at $37.49. The 52-week range of the stock is $32.22$43.89. NYSE:T share price has surged about 8 percent so far this year. The company’s market cap is $230.64 billion.