AT&T just spent $85 billion on a media company. But it’s not done writing checks for content: The company plans on acquiring all of Otter Media, the internet video company it currently co-owns with The Chernin Group.
The deal, which should close this summer, has been in the works for a couple of years, but was on hold until AT&T’s Time Warner acquisition closed, according to sources familiar with the companies’ plans.
Buying Otter will give AT&T full control of assets including FullScreen, a video company that began life as a YouTube network, and Crunchyroll, a subscription anime service.
I don’t know what AT&T plans on paying for Otter Media, but industry observers assume the deal will value the company north of $1 billion. When AT&T first started working with The Chernin Group in 2014, it said it had committed more than $500 million to the joint venture.
AT&T, Otter Media and The Chernin Group declined to comment.
AT&T’s plan to own all of Otter Media has been an open secret. Whenever I talked to anyone who worked at an Otter Media company over the past few years, they told me that they assumed they were eventually going to become AT&T employees.
I’m not sure what AT&T plans to do with Otter now, or how it fits into a content portfolio that suddenly includes HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. The JV is currently run by Tony Goncalves, a former AT&T exec. People familiar with the company’s plans say he’ll report to AT&T content boss John Stankey once the deal is finalized.
Also unclear: Next steps for The Chernin Group, which has stakes in startups including Barstool Sports, the rowdy sports programmer, and Headspace, the meditation app, along with a film and TV production arm. One obvious choice for the company, run by Hollywood veteran Peter Chernin: Raising a new investment fund.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.