U.S. telecommunications AT&T has made a bid for New-York based entertainment giant Time Warner in a proposed deal worth $85.4 billion. But as Hayley Platt reports it faces an up hill battle with regulators.
It will be the world's biggest deal so far this year if approved. US telecoms firm AT&T has agreed to buy New York-based entertainment giant, Time Warner for $85.4 billion. But the tie-up is likely to face intense scrutiny from regulators. AT&T could bypass one of America's most powerful telecoms regulators by offloading one of Time Warner's broadcast stations. Critics still say it's too much media power for one company. (SOUNDBITE) (English): DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "I think they need to give some assurances. NBC and Comcast were allowed to merge in 2011. It doesn't look dissimilar to that, so I suppose with enough regulatory scrutiny and enough assurances, maybe some disposals from AT&T and Time Warner the deal probably can go ahead but it could take a year to 18 months to be ratified in my opinion." Both U.S. Presidential candidates have weighed in - Clinton says the merger needs to be looked at while Trump says he'll block it if he wins. (SOUNDBITE) (English): DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "He may not get the opportunity to do that. A) because he may not be elected and B) because it may not be his decision in the first place." AT&T, whose core phone and broadband offering has been showing signs of slowing, is looking for ways to boost business. Last year it bought satellite TV provider Direct TV for just over $48 billion. The acquisition of Time Warner will give AT&T direct access to content such as HBO, CNN and Warner's movie franchises Batman and Harry Potter. But the regulatory scrutiny could be much tougher than the Comcast/ NBC deal. A U.S. Senate antitrust committee is planning to meet to hear the merits of the new merger in November. ///