Posts tagged with "AT&T"

More than 100 CNN staffers accept buyouts as AT&T pares down debt

April 8, 2019

More than 100 employees of CNN have opted for buyouts, a spokesperson for the network confirmed to Variety; as its parent company, AT&T,  works to shed approximately $170 million in debt following its purchase of the former Time Warner.

AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner last June–bringing together global media and entertainment leaders Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner with AT&T’s leadership in technology; and its video, mobile, and broadband customer relationships.

The new company, called WarnerMedia, consolidates the three media businesses. AT&T’s other divisions include AT&T Communications, AT&T International, and AT&T’s advertising and analytics platforms.

CNN Worldwide recently offered a voluntary buyout option to staff, the spokesperson told Variety, and “just over 100” chose to exercise an option to use it. No staffers were laid off, this person said. Buyouts also have been offered within other divisions of WarnerMedia.

Major personalities, including Anderson Cooper, will stay on.

CNN is in the midst  of other transitions. The news network this week began broadcasting some of its program from new WarnerMedia headquarters at the Hudson Yards complex, which is located in Manhattan’s West Side. The company had previously been housed at Time Warner Center in midtown.

Research contact: @WarnerMediaGrp

AT&T-Time Warner deal to close next week

June 14, 2018

If only Alexander Graham Bell could see them now: On June 12, federal Judge Richard Leon handed down a huge victory to AT&T (which began business in 1877 as Bell Telephone)—granting the telecom giant a go-ahead for its  $85 billion acquisition of mass media and entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, a decision that promises to reshape the media industry.

After a six-week trial, Judge Leon—who serves as a senior U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia— ruled that the government had failed to prove its case that the deal violates antitrust law. According to a report by CNN Money, “using unusually strong language,” Leon discouraged the Justice Department from asking him to put the ruling on hold while it considers an appeal. He said such a stay would be “manifestly unjust” because it would have the effect of killing the acquisition.

In a formal statement released by AT&T, General Counsel David McAtee, commented: “We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government’s lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner. We thank the Court for its thorough and timely examination of the evidence, and we compliment our colleagues at the Department of Justice on their dedicated representation of the government. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.

Following that closing, HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. and Time Warner’s other brands will change hands next week—becoming the second largest media company (valued at 282 billion) in the United States, after Amazon (which is valued at $817 billion).

During his campaign, CNN noted, President Trump had objected to the merger on the grounds that, “As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN—a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

A new poll of 1,502 registered Republican voters shows that a majority of President Trump’s supporters oppose the pending AT&T-Time Warner merger. The survey from trade group Incompas and IMGE, a GOP polling firm, shows that 60% of the president’s base said they agree with his campaign pledge to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger. That figure drops to 57% among all Republicans and to 42% among voters overall.

Research contact: @TeamIMGE

Corruption scandal: Trump lawyer Cohen was ‘paid by Ukraine’ to arrange White House talks

May 25, 2018

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been running a corrupt pay-to-play scheme, charging foreign governments and companies for access to the POTUS, according to a May 23 report by Paul Wood of the BBC.

In fact, the U.K.-based news outlet disclosed, Cohen received a secret payment of at least $400,000 to arrange talks between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Trump last June, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

Cohen was contacted by the Ukraine, the sources told BBC’s Wood, because that nation’s registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington D.C. could get President Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with  Trump. Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as “talks”.

And in a tit for tat fashion, shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home from those “talks” last June, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort—who has been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia investigation.

Cohen denies the allegations and is not registered as a representative of the Ukraine, as he should be under U.S. law, if he negotiated on their behalf, the BBC says.

However, in recent days, Trump’s “fixer” also has been accused of arranging secret access to the POTUS for U.S. telecom giant AT&T (which allegedly paid $200,000 to a shell company created by Cohen called Essential Consultants) and for Swiss pharmaceutical giant Norvartis (which paid $100,000 into the same account).

The Daily Dot reports that, in all, businesses and bodies politic paid $4.4 million into the Essential Consultants account in hopes of getting something in return from the new U.S. administration.

What’s more, this month, Trump, himself, reportedly made a suspicious deal—instructing the U.S. Commerce Department to help save China’s telecom company, ZTE, following an investment by a Chinese state-owned company, Metallurgical Corporation of China, in a project connected with the new Trump hotel and golf course in Indonesia.

Although Trump campaigned on promises of “draining the swamp” in Washington, a poll conducted by Transparency International at the end of 2017 found that the American public doesn’t think he is cleaning up the government. The results of the US Corruption Barometer 2017 show that:

  • 44% of Americans believe that corruption is pervasive in the White House, up from 36% in 2016;
  • 58% say the level of corruption has risen in the past year, up from 34% who said the same in January 2016;
  • Almost 70% believe the government is failing to fight corruption, up from 50% in 2016;
  • 55% gave fear of retaliation as the main reason not to report corruption, up from 31% in 2016; and
  • 74% think that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, up 4 percentage points from 2016.

As news of Cohen’s pay-to-play dealings and Trump’s ties to his old business continues to come in, Americans are worried, according to Zoe Reiter, U.S. Representative at Transparency International.

Reiter commented, “There is a clear sense that people feel corruption has gotten worse. In January 2016, Americans were already distrustful of Washington. Last year, Congress fared the worst in this survey. This year, it is the White House, followed by Congress. Our elected officials are failing to build back trust in Washington’s ability to serve the people, and still appear to represent elite corporate interests.”

Research contact:

Global bankers fear Trump will negatively impact M&A

December 7, 2017

With the stock market soaring and his tax “reform” bill about to be passed by Republicans in the U.S. Congress, President Donald Trump has said he will be “unbeatable” in 2020. When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, however, global dealmakers are less sanguine, according to results of a poll released on December 4.

They fear that the man who co-wrote “The Art of the Deal”  with Tony Schwartz may be unable to resist meddling in the M&A sphere.

In fact, based on the findings of the poll, conducted by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills in partnership with The Economist Group, Trump will have a detrimental impact on M&A over the next couple of years.

The two organizations got feedback this quarter from more than 200 senior executives and advisers involved in deal-making in Hong Kong, London, New York and Paris, Bloomberg reported.

The survey was taken before Senate Republicans narrowly passed their 500-page rewrite of the tax code and a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate.

While 42% of global respondents said Trump’s impact will be negative; about 38% said the president actually has no impact and only 20% predicted a positive effect.

Despite the upbeat expectations of the latter respondents, already this year, deals in North America have declined almost one-third from the same period in 2016—to $1.1 trillion, bringing global volume down 11%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Indeed, the Trump’s administration has demonstrated what can only be characterized as a zeal to push back on deals that it deduces will give companies too much power. For example, Bloomberg points out, AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid for entertainment giant Time Warner is facing an unexpected legal battle with the Justice Department.

Such political involvement in deals could cause problems, respondents to the poll said. Some 36% opined that it’s an “impediment and not welcome,” while 52% said intervention is an impediment but “necessary for wider social, economic and/or policy reasons,” according to the Herbert Smith survey. Only 12% said it’s not a significant impediment.

Research contact: The Economist Group  (202- 650-6500)