15:55 GMT +317 June 2019
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    AT&T, Time Warner Face Differing Debt Outlooks if Merger Goes Through

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    A planned merger between US telecommunications giant AT&T and media company Time Warner could modestly affect - one negatively, the other positively - their respective borrowing abilities once the deal is completed, credit ratings firm Standard & Poor’s said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The companies have portrayed their proposed union as a way to fuse AT&T’s base of wireless and pay-TV subscribers with Time Warner's array of programming.

    S&P “placed its ratings on Dallas-based telecommunications provider AT&T Inc., including its 'BBB+' corporate credit rating and 'BBB+' senior unsecured debt rating, on CreditWatch with negative implications,” the release on Monday stated.

    Regarding Time Warner, S&P said it had placed the company’s “’BBB’ corporate credit rating and 'BBB' issue-level ratings…on CreditWatch with positive implications.”

    The differing outlooks reflect S&P’s analysis of how each company would be affected financially by the $84.5 billion merger, announced Friday, which is subject to review by US regulators.

    Even if the deal results in a downgrade of AT&T’s corporate debt, the release stressed, it will be limited to only one “notch," to "BBB," and would remain investment-grade. In contrast, S&P said it believes the deal could provide strategic benefits to Time Warner, a cable TV powerhouse that owns CNN and HBO, among other networks.

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    credit rating, AT&T, Standard & Poor (S&P)
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