Two days after a federal judge approved AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T has announced the acquisition is complete.
AT&T will begin consolidating Time Warner Inc. on Friday, AT&T announced. The company reports having $180.4 billion in debt after the merger.
Jeff Bewkes, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc., will serve as senior advisor during a transition period, according to a statement by AT&T.
Time Warner will bring "first-rate" creative talent to complement AT&T's distribution, Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc., said.
“We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers,” Stephenson said.
Time Warner content includes DC Comics' superheroes, as well as CNN, HBO, and TNT. AT&T owns pay-TV provider DirecTV alongside its extensive landline, wireless and Internet access businesses.
Stephenson says the company has three elements needed to succeed in the video content industry: Premium content, direct-to-consumer distribution and high speed networks.
The U.S. government sued to block the transaction this past November, arguing the larger company would have too much power and that individuals' TV tab would rise as a result.
AT&T has argued that a bigger company would benefit consumers because it would allow it to offer more new services, like a cheaper streaming service.
The acquisition is likely to raise the curtain on other mega-mergers among the nation's entertainment companies.
A day after the judge ruled in favor of the AT&T-Time Warner merger, Comcast offered $65 billion in cash to buy TV and movie studios from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, setting up a bidding war with Disney, which had already agreed to buy them.
Contributing: Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY