Magazine article Variety

Hollywood's New Phone Operator

Magazine article Variety

Hollywood's New Phone Operator

Article excerpt

Randall Stephenson, by most accounts, is not a loudmouth. But the chief executive of AT&T is making serious noise in the entertainment business. The 6-foot4-inch Stephenson, an accountant by training, is looming large with his $85 billion bid for Time Warner - sealed, seemingly, at lightning speed. It's a deal that will likely be the biggest wager of his career and will saddle AT&T with a sizable chunk of new debt, not to mention a circus of regulatory hoops through which to jump. This is not a job for some faint-ofheart bean counter.

Over the past five years, Stephenson, 56, has overseen the telco's investment of more than $140 billion in wireless and wireline networks and spectrum acquisitions. Last year, he closed the $49 billion deal for DirecTV to make AT&T the No. 1 pay-TV provider in the U.S. Now, with Time Warner, Stephenson wants to complete the equation by taking content from Warner Bros., HBO, TBS, TNT, CNN, and other networks, and feed them in new ways to AT&T's 100 million-plus mobile, TV, and broadband customers. …

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