By Brian Stelter
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — It’s official: AT&T and Time Warner have agreed to a $85-billion deal in one of the biggest media combinations ever, the companies announced Saturday.
The move will help AT&T expand beyond wireless and Internet service into programming.
The deal will be subject to a review by government regulators that could take more than a year. Time Warner is the parent company of CNN, TNT, HBO, the Warner Bros. studio, and a number of other TV channels and websites.
Time Warner and AT&T executives have been in talks for several months. Word of the possible deal leaked out on Thursday; AT&T executives were said to be eager to finish the talks before the market opens on Monday morning.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the cash-and-stock deal values Time Warner at “between $105 and $110 a share.”
The two companies have declined to comment while talks are underway.
Adding Time Warner would help AT&T to diversify its business beyond wireless phone and Internet services. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has spoken publicly about his desire to own valuable programming.
With HBO and CNN on one side of the company, and wireless on the other side, AT&T would have more power to shape the future of media.
In some ways, the pending deal resembles Comcast’s 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal. Comcast, a dominant cable distributor, wanted to own cable channels and a movie studio. That deal was approved, with restrictions, by regulators.
The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.