NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- AT&T's (T) $85.4 billion acquisition of Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report rival Time Warner (TWX) over the weekend is something that Netflix will monitor over the coming months to ensure that the content streaming company and Time Warner's HBO are treated equally, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Tuesday morning.
"It's hard to tell. It's very early. We didn't know anything about it. We're just sorting through it," he said. Hastings has one condition and that is regulators must treat HBO and Netflix the same.
"For sure we want to make it so that we want to require that for AT&T customers that HBO and Netflix are treated the same. 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," he explained.
During the WSJ.D Live Conference on Monday, Hastings was asked if he would ever go after Time Warner. "Next question," was his reply, but he later said that the answer wasn't a "no."
However, CNBC's Julia Boorstin said that she believes he was more poking fun at his long time rivalry with Time Warner, than being serious about going after it. "He made it clear that they're not taking M&A deals," she said.
"[Hastings] said that one reason Netflix has been successful is because it has stayed out of M&A and the company doesn't do banker meetings," she said.
There could be conditions that Hastings would advocate for with regulators, but he would have to "give it a couple of months and sort through it," he told Boorstin.
AT&T making a push into content could make things "tougher" for Netflix, but it will also make it "easier for us to recruit Time Warner executives, which are a very talented bunch," he concluded.
Based on the interview Hastings seems to want to "start off nice because he doesn't want to come out guns blazing so early in the process," Boorstin said. "But I think it's possible if he gets what he wants in terms of being treated fairly and treated equally that he's not going to try and shut it down."
Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
TheStreet Ratings team rates Netflix as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. The primary factors that have impacted the team's rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: NFLX