DISCATJohn Stankey, senior executive vice president of AT&T Inc. merger integration planning, arrives to federal court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, April 30, 2018. Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
It didn’t work. It was misguided. It never really made sense to begin with. And we’re not talking about Quibi.
AT&T’s decision to split out WarnerMedia comes less than three years after closing its $100 billion transaction, including debt, is an admission that putting a large content asset with a wireless phone company had few long-lasting synergies. If anything, WarnerMedia became an albatross on AT&T shares, which have underperformed Verizon and T-Mobile since the deal’s completion date on June 14, 2018.
AT&T CEO John Stankey also sold a 30% stake in DirecTV and other linear pay-TV assets in February, along with operational control, to TPG. That deal also partially unwound a major AT&T acquisition from just a few years earlier. AT&T spent $67.1 billion, including debt, on DirecTV in 2015.
Stankey was former AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson’s right-hand man. He had defended the DirecTV and