AT&T and Time Warner plot a blockbuster media future.

A DEAL worth $85.4bn is by any standards a blockbuster. The agreement by wireless and pay-television giant AT&T to buy Time Warner, owner of Warner Bros, HBO and a trove of hit films and TV shows, is the biggest bet yet that the future of media will be dictated by massive companies that best marry distribution with content.

The merger, announced by the two companies in the evening on October 22nd, does not ensure that AT&T, a traditional telecommunications company, will end up as one of those winners. But Randall Stephenson, who as AT&T’s chief executive will steer the combined company, is assembling the pieces he believes he needs to get there.


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