Time Warner Shareholders Approve AT&T Merger

“The deal advances our long-term operational strategy,” Jeff Bewkes says

Time Warner Inc. shareholders voted to adopt the merger agreement between AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. on Wednesday, the company announced.

“On behalf of our board of directors and management team, I’m pleased that the Company’s shareholders have approved the proposal to combine with AT&T. In addition to providing shareholders with immediate value and the ability to participate in the upside of the combined company, the deal advances our long-term operational strategy,” Time Warner Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Office Jeff Bewkes said.

78 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock voted in favor of the deal, while 99 percent of the shares that voted favored the agreement. With shareholder approval of the transaction and with regulatory review of the deal underway, the company expects the transaction to close before the end of 2017.

“By combining Time Warner’s leading brands and video content with AT&T’s distribution, we will accelerate our ability to innovate, develop and deliver the next generation of video services, making our content even more valuable to consumers and business partners,” Bewkes said.

Last week, the company announced that “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” helped lead Time Warner to a fairly magical fourth-quarter of 2016. The Warner Bros. parent unveiled its Q4 and full-year financials last Wednesday, reporting earnings per share of $1.25 on $7.9 billion in revenue for the most-recent 90-day period. Wall Street had forecast earnings per share of $1.19 on $7.72 billion in revenue, per Yahoo Finance.

Bewkes’ company beat analyst expectations fairly comfortably at both the top and bottom lines. Of course, it wasn’t just the Harry Potter-universe movie that made a mark. Ben Affleck’s “The Accountant” also helped please Time Warner’s actual accountants. On the small screen, HBO and Turner subscriptions both grew, offsetting Turner’s disappointing ad sales.

Warner Bros. revenue jumped 17 percent for the fourth quarter, HBO’s increased 6 percent and Turner’s rose 7 percent year over year. Turner’s full-year top line was also up 7 percent, HBO’s was up 5 percent and Warner Bros. remained basically flat from 2015.

Time Warner is now set to merge with the world’s largest telecom after months of speculation, putting a content and distribution empire including the Warner Bros. studio, CNN, HBO, DirecTV and AT&T Wireless under one roof.