AT&T CEO John Stankey Says WarnerMedia-Discovery Deal On Track – ‘No News Is Good News’

AT&T CEO John Stankey said the company is working closely with regulators on the WarnerMediaDiscovery deal announced in late May and so far hasn’t seen anything “that’s been particularly problematic” in the review process.

“No news is good news,” he said on a conference call to discuss the telecom and broadband giant’s quarterly earnings. “We’re basically tracking through the process, as we would expect to do. Right now it’s a lot of wok with the regulatory agencies and [producing] documentation and information and all that is underway.”

He still expects approval will take a full year with a green light in 2022. “I don’t have any reason to suggest it is going to be any different than that,” he said in response to a question.

An earlier deal inked late last year for DirecTV, however, will close earlier than anticipated — over the next several weeks sometime in early August, he said, calling it a “pleasant surprise” how quickly it moved ahead. Some 30% of the satellite broadcaster was turned over to TGP to create separate, standalone entity.

He called WarnerMedia-Discovery proposition pretty “straightforward” “If we were to be surprised and it closes sooner we will take it and be prepared for it.”

The speed of another recent combination — Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM — has been called into question by news that the FTC is probing the deal.

AT&T company is shrinking by the day as it unloads assets and unwinds major acquisitions to re-focus on its core business lines.

It will become smaller company when DirecTV separates. Assuming an imminent close, it outlined the expected impact of the deal on financials for the remainder of 2021: Revenues to be lower by $9 billion; EBITDA to be lower by $1 billion; free cash flow to be lower by about $1 billion, equating to $26 billion for the year.

No change is expected to updated adjusted EPS and capital investment guidance.

AT&T expects proceeds of about $7.8 billion at close of the DirecTV transaction, and annual cash distributions of more than $1 billion.

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