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article imageWarnerMedia shuts its technology investment arm

By Tim Sandle     Jan 25, 2019 in Business
Expunging the legacy of TimeWarner, WarnerMedia has halted its investment in digital media and technology startup firms. This means an uncertain future for companies in the current funding round.
Time Warner (the predecessor of WarnerMedia) was a significant investor in various digital media and technology companies. This era seems to be at an end with WarnerMedia media signalling that it will not be continuing with current investments. This is perhaps a reflection of the precarious nature of the digital publishing sector.
The origins of Time Warner date back to 1990 when Time Inc. and Warner Communications came together. In 2018, AT&T purchased the company and re-branded it WarnerMedia, with the status of the company now being a subsidiary of AT&T. This has led to a consolidation of services and a focus on new ventures, most notably the launch an over-the-top streaming service in late 2019 to compete with Netflix, Amazon Video and Disney+.
This process also means the end of WarnerMedia Investments (once Time Warner Investments). In the past the investment arm backed such luminaries as Mic, Mashable, Maker Studios, Vessel; plus, Bustle Digital Group, FanDuel, Discord and Tremor Video.
Coinciding with the winding up of the investment division, Allison Goldberg, the executive once in charge of the investment group, has left the company. Signals that the fund was being run down, DigiDay reports, were indicated by the fund’s last public investment -a workplace communications startup called Dynamic Signal - being back in February 2018.
Chief Financial Officer John Stephens informed Biz Journal that WarnerMedia company has been looking at its balance sheet closely. Stephens indicated that AT&T are looking to cut about $18 billion to $20 billion in debt during the course of 2019.
It is uncertain what will happen to the portfolio. The possibilities range from disbanding it to selling it off to an alternative investment group. This places those technology startups currently being funded in a difficult and uncertain situation.
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