AT&T ACQUISITION OF TCI NOT LIKELY TO IMPACT LIBERTY MEDIA
AT&T announced this morning "it is buying cable giant
TCI in a stock deal worth $48 billion," according to ABC's
Asha Blake on "Good Morning America." Blake: "What's in it
for AT&T? The ability to bring local phone service and
Internet access to 40 million TCI customers" ("Good Morning
America," ABC, 6/24). In DC, Farhi & Mills report that the
agreement merges "the nation's largest long-distance phone
company and its second-largest cable TV concern." The deal
will offer "one-stop shopping to consumers for virtually all
electronic services: long-distance and cellular phone calls,
cable TV and high-speed Internet access." Farhi & Mills add
that "some in Congress already are expressing concern about
the deal" (Farhi & Mills, WASHINGTON POST, 6/24).
SPORTS INTEREST: TCI jointly owns Fox/Liberty Networks,
which includes 22 RSNs reaching about 60 million homes, in a
partnership with News Corp. TCI also owns a portion of MSG,
the Knicks and NHL Rangers. DAILY VARIETY's Martin Peers
calls the deal "highly complicated," but reports that it
"only covers the cable systems" and excludes TCI's Liberty
programming arm and the TCI Ventures investment arm. TCI
Chair John Malone will reportedly retain control of Liberty
Media, "an important point for Hollywood players like USA
Networks Chair Barry Diller and News Corp. Chair Rupert
Murdoch, "who are in business with Malone through Liberty"
(DAILY VARIETY, 6/24). USA TODAY's Rosenbush, Maney &
Lieberman report that AT&T is "expected to spin off" Liberty
Media and that Malone is "expected to leave the AT&T-TCI
fold and run Liberty and TCI Ventures" (USA TODAY, 6/24).
The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Leslie Cauley reports that "local
business appears to be one of the most attractive angles for
AT&T," although it will "maintain an alliance" with TCI's
programming arm (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/24).