AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes hit the ground running Monday morning to sell Wall Street, consumers, and media watchdogs on the merits of the $85.4 billion merger unveiled less than 48 hours ago.
Stephenson and Bewkes made joint appearances on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and CNN’s “New Day” before hosting a 70-minute conference call with analysts — all before 10 a.m. ET.
The CEOs tried to demonstrate extreme confidence that the union of the two media giants will pass muster with regulators — with conditions — won’t leave AT&T with an unmanageable debt load, and will be good for consumers in the long run. Perhaps the boldest claim they’re making is that AT&T and Time Warner will drive innovation in mobile video distribution, interactive, and on-demand programming services that will be so groundbreaking as to entice competitors to take part.