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AT&T to run wireless, media as separate units: source


By David Shepardson and Anjali Athavaley

- AT&Inc will run its wireless and DirecTV satellite television businesses separately from Inc's media assets following its $85.4 billion of the entertainment group, source told on Friday.

Buying gives AT&control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Bros and other coveted media assets. AT&T's post-merger plans were earlier reported by Bloomberg

The deal, announced in October, is seen as bold move by the telecommunications giant to acquire content to stream over its network. AT&hopes the programming will give it competitive edge in saturated wireless market. The deal also brings wealth of user data for more targeted advertising.

The reorganization will leave AT&executives in charge of the combined company. John Stankey, who currently leads DirecTV and other entertainment businesses, will head up the media division and John Donovan, AT&T's chief strategy officer who oversees technology and operations, will run the wireless business, the source said.

AT&Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson will remain chairman and CEO of the combined company after the deal closes, an AT&spokesman said.

In an emailed statement, AT&spokesman Fletcher Cook said no decisions on an organizational structure have been finalized and that Stephenson and CEO Jeff Bewkes were still working on them. did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Bob Quinn, AT&senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, told reporters this week that the company expects to close the merger by the end of the year. "We are just working through the process," Quinn said, noting it also needs approvals from some international agencies and the U.S. Justice Department.

"All indications are that end of the year is definitely in reach." He declined to weigh in on whether the White House could seek to intervene in the merger as some reports have suggested, citing anonymous White House aides.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been critical of Warner's division CNN in recent months, calling the outlet "fake news". He had also expressed opposition to the merger during his election campaign.

group of Senate Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken had also urged the Justice Department last month to closely scrutinize the deal.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Anjali Athavaley and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh, Parikshit Mishra and Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru and; editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Jeffrey Benkoe and David Gregorio)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)