AT&T (T) has made an $85.4 billion offer to buy Time Warner Inc. (TWX), whose many properties include HBO, CNN, Turner Sports (TBS, TNT, TruTV) and Warner Bros.
But AT&T is not buying Time Warner Cable. Time Warner Inc. and Time Warner Cable are not the same company.
You might think that’s obvious, but it has often been confusing to consumers, and it has even confused the press this week. Many television and digital news outlets have erroneously shown the Time Warner Cable logo on screen in segments about the mega-deal.
There has been enough confusion that AT&T was compelled to clarify the situation in an SEC filing on Monday titled, “AT&T statement on TWX-TWC confusion.”
AT&T wrote: “Time Warner Inc. should not be confused with Time Warner Cable, which is a distinct, independent company owned by Charter Communications. In 2008, Time Warner and Time Warner Cable announced a complete legal and structural separation of the companies. That separation was completed in 2009, and the companies have been completely separate and independent entities ever since.”
So TWX and TWC have been separated for eight years. And last year, Charter Communications (CHTR) bought Time Warner Cable. Still, confusion lingers.
Now Charter is in the process of rebranding Time Warner Cable to Charter Spectrum. Time Warner Cable was named the most hated cable company in America last year, so the timing is right for a rebrand.
AT&T is also not buying Time Inc., the magazine publisher. Time Warner spun off Time Inc two years ago.