AT&T mirrors Verizon’s interest in palaeontology

Nostalgia-driven M&A appears to be the name of the game among the big US operators, with AT&T reportedly considering acquiring Time Warner.

Big rival Verizon, of course, has made content central to its multiplay strategy, having acquired internet dinosaur AOL last year and making a move for one of the few internet companies even older in the form of Yahoo. The latter move, however, may be on the rocks as the Yahoo fossil-dig has revealed a few nasty surprises.

AT&T seems to be feeling left out of this palaeontology expedition, according to a Bloomberg report, and has been chiselling away at the Jurassic shale that is Time Warner (the content company, not the cableco) in hope of a big find. Time Warner was formed from a merger in 1990 but can trace its roots all the way back to 1922, which is a good innings for any company. It famously merged with AOL at the height of the dotcom bubble, a move that remains a byword for corporate folly to this day.

As ever with one of these trial balloon leaks the story was full of caveats about how nothing has been decided yet and this was just a quick chat over a pint, etc. Time Warner’s shares were lifted 5% on the news, but AT&T’s fell a percent or two, implying the market isn’t too impressed.

If content is what you’re after, however, then Time Warner arguably owns the crown jewels in the form of HBO. The venerable premium content provider has brought us all-time greats such as The Sopranos, The Wire and Game of Thrones over the years, which would surely provide a major additional string to the AT&T multiplay bow.

Meanwhile Netflix is going from strength to strength so this will probably not be the last time we see a major operator group go fossil-hunting for content. Expect Sprint to make a move for Jim Beam and TMUS to snap-up the East India Company before long.

One comment

  1. Avatar Leland C 24/10/2016 @ 8:12 am

    There has got to be an easier way to get premium content onboard instead of putting down $80+ billion USD, no? Seems a bit excessive.

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