Is HBO Publicly Traded?

Last Updated on 03/10/2021 by GS Staff

Q: Can you purchase HBO stock?

HBO is a brand of the media and entertainment conglomerate, Warner Media. The parent company of Warner Media is AT&T. AT&T trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol T. You cannot buy shares only in HBO. However, if you invest in AT&T, you will be investing in HBO along with the numerous other subsidiaries of AT&T.

So, what else does AT&T own other than Warner Media/HBO?

What does AT&T own?

Here are some of the major businesses owned by AT&T:

  • AT&T Mobile – the nationwide wireless service
  • AT&T High-speed internet – internet services for home or work
  • AT&T TV – live and on-demand TV service including premium channels
  • Turner – cable stations such as TNT, TBS, CNN, and Cartoon Network
  • Warner Bros. – the film and television studio behind Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, DC Films, and more.
  • HBO – paid premium television and streaming programming including HBO Max

HBO’s Revenue & Growth

You can see by the snapshot above that AT&T is an enormous and complex company. Its consolidated revenues in 2020 were approximately $172 billion. HBO represented only $6.8 billion of this revenue, according to investors.att.com. However, the company has taken steps to grow HBO, particularly with the recent launch of HBO Max.

HBO Max was first available in May 2020. It is a video streaming service that had approximately 37.7 million subscribers (17.2 million activated users) at the end of 2020. According to the 2019 annual report, the company expects to grow HBO Max to 50 million U.S. subscribers by 2025 and “generate about $5 billion in annual incremental revenue”.

HBO Max is a baby compared to Netflix with its 200+ million subscribers at the end of 2020. For comparison, Disney Plus had about 87 million subscribers and Hulu had approximately 39 million subscribers at the close of 2020.

The key to HBO Max’s growth will be to offer quality content that will keep and attract subscribers. The company has certainly taken bold steps to do this by releasing all 2021 new releases made by Warner Bros. simultaneously in theaters and through HBO Max. This should certainly help increase subscribers in 2021 and potentially beyond. However, the WarnerMedia segment will certainly lose out on box office revenue as Max subscribers opt to stay home instead of visit theatres.

Will there ever be HBO stock?

AT&T would have to spinoff HBO into its own company for there to be HBO stock. The company appears content on growing subscribers at this point and is very likely not considering a spinoff. It could possibly do so in the future to unlock HBO’s value, but this is purely speculation. We have no indication at this time that there will be a publicly-traded HBO in the future.

Closing Thoughts

The future of HBO Max may potentially be promising. However, to invest in HBO, you will also have to invest in all that comes with the parent, AT&T. It is a complex company with many parts making it difficult to value for most investors. Complete your due diligence before considering investing.


Image Credit – Jason Paris/flickr