Barry Diller does not think highly of AT&T — not in the Time Warner acquisitions days, and not now amid a spinoff of its WarnerMedia into a merger with Discovery.
“Ma Bell should have been dead and buried by now,” Diller said Friday morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Diller added WarnerMedia is now in “better hands” — “How could it ever be in worse hands?” he said.
Diller said AT&T “drove” Jeff Zucker out of any real power, “which is such an incredible insult to do to someone running a company.” Zucker, the head of CNN, was considered a front runner to lead WarnerMedia before ex-Hulu CEO Jason Kilar was hired in April 2020.
Watch the relevant portion of Diller’s CNBC interview via the video below.
"The Great Escape … for AT&T," Barry Diller on the WarnerMedia/Discovery deal. "It's the power of monopoly. Ma Bell should be dead and buried by now." pic.twitter.com/7frfThXGLb
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) May 21, 2021
Diller’s pointed remarks came after AT&T agreed earlier this week to spin off WarnerMedia into an independent company that will merge with Discovery Inc. AT&T, which is about $170 billion in debt, will receive $43 billion as part of the deal.
This wasn’t the first time Diller has critiqued AT&T’s content strategy, either. Back in 2016, Diller said he wasn’t a fan of AT&T acquiring Time Warner, saying he didn’t think the telecom giant could “help” the media company if they merged. That $85 billion deal eventually closed in 2018. But now, only three years later, AT&T has made a hard pivot away from content with its Discovery deal.
Read original story Barry Diller Blasts AT&T’s Treatment of Jeff Zucker, Says WarnerMedia Is ‘Now in Better Hands’ (Video) At TheWrap