AT&T And Time Warner Chiefs Visit Warner Bros. In L.A. Swing

Warner Bros Pictures
Warner Bros

Warner Bros chief Kevin Tsujihara will have an opportunity to learn more about the potential impact Time Warner’s planned sale to AT&T could have on his world today when the CEOs of the two companies pay him a visit.

AT&T’s Randall Stephenson and Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes were scheduled to visit with Tsujihara after their joint appearance at the WSJDLive Conference in Laguna Beach.

The studio chief shouldn’t have to worry about his own job. Bewkes said Saturday that he expects “all of our creative and business execs to go on for many years.”

Stephenson also said today that, if the deal closes, Time Warner will operate as “a wholly owned separate subsidiary of AT&T.” He added that he doesn’t “know the first thing” about running premium TV networks and movie production.

Yesterday, Tsujihara told his troops, in a memo, that he’s “really excited about the deal” and will “do everything I can to preserve the things that make Warner Bros. special.”

Here’s his memo:

Dear Colleagues,

On Saturday evening, we all received the news that AT&T had agreed to buy Time Warner. Jeff Bewkes sent a video message providing additional information about what that means for our company and its employees, and in the subsequent hours, there has been an enormous amount of media coverage.

First and foremost, let me assure you that I’m really excited about the deal. Among other things, it will help us get closer to our consumers, which has been one of Warner Bros.’ and Time Warner’s most important strategic priorities—it’s something we talked a lot about at the State of the Studio last month. We’re leveraging Time Warner’s leading scale and world-class ability to engage audiences with premium content with AT&T’s leading reach in TV, mobile and broadband distribution platforms and direct consumer relationships. This transaction significantly accelerates the next stage in our evolution and promises to make all the great content we create and distribute even more powerful and valuable.

On a personal note, you’ve often heard me talk about our company’s culture being a huge competitive advantage, and this deal is recognition of that. Our employees’ dedication to excellence is evident in every one of our businesses—leading the Studio to another record year in 2016—and I’m going to do everything I can to preserve the things that make Warner Bros. special.

To reiterate what Jeff said, this deal is not about cost savings, it is about growth opportunities and our expertise in creating world-class content. AT&T recognizes that the value of our brands and businesses depends upon the expertise of our team, and they are very committed to retaining the talented people who have made our company the best in the industry.

I realize the uncertainty this brings to the workplace, but we need to stay focused and keep Warner Bros. on track as the industry leader it is. The timeline for this deal is estimated to be about 12 months, so we’ll continue operating business as usual for the foreseeable future.

I appreciate your commitment and dedication to our company’s success. Our goal is to provide information as soon as it becomes available to ensure that everyone knows as much as possible about how this deal will affect not only our businesses, but each of us personally.

In the meantime, there is an FAQ on Behind the Shield that may address some of your concerns.

Thanks again for all you do to make Warner Bros. the great company it is, and I look forward to working with you on this next exciting chapter.

Best regards,

Kevin Tsujihara

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