AT&T is looking to thread its Time Warner acquisition into its own business within the overall corporate structure, The Wall Street Journal reports from its sources.
Current AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson would remain in his position, but assign two chief spots for a telecom group — containing AT&T Mobility, DirecTV, other wireless and wireline operations — and a media group — Time Warner and Turner Cable properties, including Cable News Network.
President Donald Trump has publicly expressed his opposition against the $85 billion takeover as it related to CNN, an outlet he has been verbally sparring with. However, the deal’s in regulatory hell as the Justice Department needs to sign off on it and it still needs a chief for antitrust review. As the Senate is in a holding pattern on dealing with the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, it might not be able to confirm a candidate for that spot for the foreseeable future.
When Comcast acquired NBCUniversal back in 2011, it made a similar separation of its telecommunications and media divisions. AT&T might not need to face certain regulatory requirements that Comcast was saddled with, though, as neither Time Warner nor AT&T currently handle public TV airwaves. That said, as competition tightens in the online digital streaming space with original content and complicated licensing deals, we may be talking about a different ball game altogether.