AT&T to buy Batman, Warner Bros., and the rest of Time Warner for $85.4 billion

After a few days of rumors and speculation, it’s happening: AT&T has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion. The Wall Street Journal was first to break the news. AT&T and Time Warner made the deal official with a press release on Saturday night.

“This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Premium content always wins. It has been true on the big screen, the TV screen and now it’s proving true on the mobile screen. We’ll have the world’s best premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen. A big customer pain point is paying for content once but not being able to access it on any device, anywhere. Our goal is to solve that. We intend to give customers unmatched choice, quality, value and experiences that will define the future of media and communications.”

Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said, “This is a great day for Time Warner and its shareholders. Combining with AT&T dramatically accelerates our ability to deliver our great brands and premium content to consumers on a multiplatform basis and to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities created by the growing demand for video content. That’s been one of our most important strategic priorities and we’re already making great progress — both in partnership with our distributors, and on our own by connecting directly with consumers. Joining forces with AT&T will allow us to innovate even more quickly and create more value for consumers along with all our distribution and marketing partners, and allow us to build on a track record of creative and financial excellence that is second to none in our industry. In fact, when we announce our 3Q earnings, we will report revenue and operating income growth at each of our divisions, as well as double-digit earnings growth.”

You can read the full press release here.

As with any deal of this size, a rigorous regulatory review is expected and the acquisition of Time Warner likely wouldn’t close until late 2017, people close to the process told WSJ.

Time Warner is a major player in movies, TV, video games, and comics. Its assets include Batman, Warner Bros., DC Comics, HBO, and CNN, to name a few.

It’s too early to tell what this means for the future of Warner Bros. and DC Comics, but internal changes usually come with a deal of this size. AT&T will want to bring in some of their own people to run things, and current employees could lose their jobs or choose to leave on their own. Whether or not those high level changes trickle down to the products that we consume remains to be seen.