AT&T is already planning some changes for the company after the Time Warner deal – which is worth around $85.4 billion – is completed. The biggest one includes the company’s current CEO, Randall Stephenson. He has been AT&T’s CEO for roughly 10 years now, but once this merger is completed, he will move to executive chairman of the combined company, and will oversee two CEO’s running the rest of the company, including wireless and its media business. This is according to people familiar with the matter.
Stephenson will remain the top executive at AT&T, amid these organizational changes. It’s said that these changes will be the biggest ones since the government broke up “Ma Bell” around 33 years ago. John Stankey, who is currently leading DIRECTV and AT&T’s other entertainment businesses, will become the CEO of the media division and that includes Time Warner. DIRECTV will then be part of a unit which will include AT&T’s phone business (we’re talking landlines here not wireless), which would be run by John Donovan, who is currently the strategy chief, and will be promoted to CEO. Splitting the company up this way allows for AT&T to keep its telecommunications business separate from its media business. With DIRECTV being part of its telecommunications business, it’s clear that AT&T is looking to be clear of some regulatory hurdles by treating both of these divisions like independent companies. It’s unclear whether that was something that regulators wanted AT&T to do, or not, but it’s a good idea for the company to do anyways.
It’s important to note here that the merger is not yet complete. It’s still possible that the government could block the acquisition of Time Warner, although unlikely at this point. AT&T is expecting the acquisition to complete later this year. The acquisition of Time Warner includes plenty of media properties like CNN and HBO, which squarely puts AT&T in position as a media company. Much more than it currently is with DIRECTV under its umbrella. AT&T already offers up video service through DIRECTV NOW, for cordcutters, and with the acquisition of Time Warner, it’s said to get even better with more content added for what could be lower prices.