AT&T will join its media operations with those run by Discovery to create a new company in a $43 billion deal that run its CNN, HBO, TNT and TBS with channels like the Food Network and HGTV. With the agreement Monday, AT&T is easing back from a yearslong push into a streaming entertainment sector where big players are slugging it out with increasingly large war chests dedicated to premium and original content.
The newly formed and publicly traded company will enter a streaming arena that has been flooded in the past two years with new players including those owned by AT&T and Discovery, which operate HBO Max and Discovery+, respectively. It is a major directional shift for AT&T which squared off with the Justice Department less than three years ago in an antitrust fight when it wanted to acquire Time Warner Inc. for more than $80 billion. That was a fight to expand into entertainment that AT&T won. It’s not immediately clear what the new company would mean for customers, but it will likely allow the bundling of streaming services. For example, Disney offers its viewers Disney+, Hulu and ESPN. A standalone streaming service for CNN is also a possibility. The combined media company will still be outsized by rival streaming services.
With files from the Associated Press