Deals and IPOs

This is what Netflix's Reed Hastings thinks of the AT&T-Time Warner merger

Netflix's Reed Hastings weighs in on AT&T-Time Warner merger

Netflix's Reed Hastings could be looking at a new, behemoth of a rival, now that AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner, parent to HBO.

While he expected it to take months for Netflix to sort through the details of the proposed deal, he already had one simple guideline in mind.

"We want to require that for AT&T customers, that HBO and Netflix are treated the same," said Hastings in an exclusive interview with CNBC at the WSJ D Conference. "Now that they're going to own HBO we think that any special treatment for HBO data would be inappropriate, but I think that's pretty basic."

Hastings also acknowledged that AT&T's ownership of Time Warner could have some clear drawbacks, as well as some surprising advantages. "There's a lot of AT&T investment in content, that could make things tougher," said Hastings. "On the other hand it's probably going to get easier for us to recruit Time Warner executives, which are a very talented bunch."

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Hastings didn't respond to speculation that Netflix could be a great acquisition target for the likes of Apple. When asked about whether the time could be right to sell the company to a tech giant, Hastings responded by focusing on his company's track record-- a stock that is up almost 100-fold in the 14 years that the company's been public.

Hastings also stressed that the company's success is based on a commitment to the company's product and content, and the discipline of staying away from deals.

"That's what made us successful for the last 14 years is we've done no M&A. We've stayed out of all those discussions. We don't do bankers meetings. We're very old school in that way," said Hastings. "Let's just build the greatest service on earth, and again, it's done very well for our shareholders."

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