As the weeks go by, its looking more and more unlikely that AT&T will win approval to move forward with its nearly $90 billion takeover of media/entertainment giant Time Warner. The deal was supposed to create one of the world’s biggest telecom/media giants giving AT&T an endless pool of entertainment content and news to push to its massive base of mobile and satellite users. The deal would’ve also given current Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes an exit with a huge payout sending him off into retirement (no one really retires) with a nice chunk of change. But AT&T is locked in a battle with the Department of Justice and its not looking good for AT&T. The DOJ earlier gave AT&T an option if it wanted to get the all clear for Time Warner. The option was to commit to selling off CNN and then and only then would a deal be approved. But AT&T balked claiming politics was being injected into the matter and now the deal in the eyes of many is all but dead even as AT&T heads to court to fight.
So what will happen at Time Warner if the deal is in fact dead? Well naturally business will continue as it is now especially being that the company continues to do deliver good numbers. But would CEO Jeff Bewkes continue in his role or will he still move forward with an exit? if he does decide to step down after being at the helm for a decade Time Warner isn’t short on internal candidates who can takeover from Mr. Bewkes. Mr. Bewkes himself rose through the ranks of the company to eventually become CEO. He used to run HBO. Names that pop into mind for Time Warner’s next CEO are the usual names like current HBO boss Richard Plepler. Turner CEO John Martin and Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara. Any of these men can easily move into Mr. Bewke’s sprawling corner office and run the show.
Dark horse candidates on our list includes current CNN president Jeff Zucker who once ran media giant NBC-Universal and Lachlan Murdoch who is about to be out of a job when Disney closes on its deal to acquire the media and entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox where he is currently CEO. Though these men are dark horse candidates, they both have the same experience as Mr. Bewkes running a major media/entertainment conglomerate where as the internal candidates don’t. Time Warner’s stock for the most part has been performing well as the deal with AT&T grows more and more unlikely implying that investors may have soured on the deal and instead are rooting for an independent Time Warner to continue. AT&T on the other hand has been taking some hits here and there. A failed deal will likely affect AT&T more than TimeWarner. But a deal is not off the table until AT&T and/or Time Warner says so.
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