As AT&T continues to push for approval of its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, the company’s leadership has released details of how the new mega-corporation would be structured. The plan calls for the new AT&T to split into independent arms, one handling media and the other doing telecom. This may appease regulators, but things aren’t changing at the top.
According to AT&T, current CEO Randall Stephenson will continue being the CEO of AT&T after the deal. He will have oversight of the company’s direction and overall management. Below Stephenson will be a manager for AT&T media and a different executive for AT&T telecom. Reports claim the media head will be long-time AT&T executive John Stankey. The new structure would see DirecTV folded into the telecom business, so watch for even more tie-ins with AT&T Wireless service.
AT&T presents this as a way to ensure fairness in the way its content is managed, but it’s also about insulating Time Warner’s creative process from AT&T’s famous bureaucracy. AT&T has also said it’s open to formal agreements that would prevent it from favoring its own content on telecom services, if that’s what it takes to make the deal happen. That’s what regulators did for the Comcast-NBC merger several years back. With the plan to split the business up, this is probably enough to get approval. Donald Trump pledged to block the deal as a candidate, but has offered no assurances as president.
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