Just over a year ago, AT&T and Time Warner proposed one of the biggest mergers of all time, a $85.4 billion deal that would bring together the owners of CNN, HBO, and DirecTV in a single company. The merger had a deadline of Oct. 22, which the companies have extended for an unspecified “short period of time” to gain regulatory approval in the United States.
The companies filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission that extends the merger deadline to an unspecified future date “to facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval required to close the merger.” Last week, the betrothed companies announced that they had regulatory approval in Brazil, meaning that approval in the United States is the last hurdle.
AT&T says that it hopes to have that regulatory approval by the end of 2017, with AT&T CEO Randall “Darth Randy” Stephenson making the rounds to assure the Trump administration and consumers that the deal will mean lower prices for consumers due to targeted advertising and the elimination of traditional all-in-one cable bundles.
They’ve even given customers a taste of what the future could be like, giving free HBO subscriptions to AT&T Wireless customers with unlimited plans.
If completed, the merger would put together the largest satellite TV provider in the country, the second-largest mobile carrier, and a large number of cable networks, including HBO, TBS, TNT, CNN, and HLN.
Time Warner is not to be confused with its former subsidiary, Time Warner Cable, which was acquired by competitor Charter in 2016 and now sells it services to customers under the brand Spectrum.