WarnerMedia CEO Denies Report That HBO Europe Is for Sale
WarnerMedia owner and telecom giant AT&T has looked at offloading HBO's European networks to reduce its debt, according to a media report.
AT&T's WarnerMedia on Wednesday denied a media report suggesting that it was discussing a sale of HBO Europe in an attempt to reduce $170 billion in debt.
The Financial Times reported that HBO Europe — a group of channels that operate across much of the continent — was one of the assets that the telecom giant was considering offloading, citing multiple sources.
But WarnerMedia denied that. "We normally do not comment on speculation, but when a news outlet is advised that their reporting is factually incorrect and report it anyway, we feel compelled to set the record straight," said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter. "There is no truth whatsoever to the Financial Times’ story saying AT&T is or has considered selling HBO Europe. It’s completely baseless and inaccurate. HBO Europe is a valuable asset for our growth plans in Europe."
With more than 200 employees, HBO Europe — which was originally launched in 1991 — has an estimated 10 million subscribers across countries including Spain, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Denmark and Norway.
Alongside distributing HBO shows such as Game of Thrones and The Sopranos, since 2010 it has also moved into producing its own premium local-language content and is a well-established rival to Netflix in many territories.
Recently announced HBO Europe series include Foodie Love, the small-screen debut for Spanish director Isabel Coixet, and the Swedish-language adaptation of Beartown, based on the best-selling book by A Man Called Ove from writer Fredrik Backman.
In the U.K., Germany and Italy, HBO licenses its content exclusively to Sky, whose new owner Comcast was described by some observers as a well-suited buyer should AT&T decide to sell HBO Europe.