Tags: at&t | time warner | buy | talks

WSJ: AT&T in Advanced Talks to Buy Time Warner

WSJ: AT&T in Advanced Talks to Buy Time Warner

(AP/Eric Gay)

By    |   Friday, 21 October 2016 11:52 AM

AT&T Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire media conglomerate Time Warner Inc., and a deal could come as early as this weekend, the Wall Street Journal  reported.

The move would marry one of the world's most valued public companies with the owner of such desirable media brands as HBO, CNN, TNT and Warner Brothers.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that executives of both the companies had discussed various business strategies, including a possible merger, in recent weeks.

Time Warner shares jumped as much as 11 percent, while AT&T fell as much as 3.3 percent. Bloomberg reported Thursday that executives of both companies had met in recent weeks to discuss business combinations including a potential merger, according to people familiar with the matter. The Journal said the talks are in an advanced stage.

AT&T, led by chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, previously acquired satellite TV giant DirecTV to add to its traditional telecom services, including wireless and broadband.

Time Warner owns Warner Bros., premium TV service HBO and the Turner cable networks. It previously owned Time Warner Cable, but spun it out as a separate company, which earlier this year was acquired by Charter Communications.

Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes has focused the company on its content operations. An AT&T deal would once again combine content and distribution assets under one company umbrella.

The talks about a possible cash-and-stock deal were first reported on Thursday and seem to have progressed more quickly than first thought, but could still fall through or get delayed.

Time Warner a couple of years ago rejected a $85 per share takeover offer from 21st Century Fox, which later withdrew the bid.

Time Warner Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes is a willing seller if he gets an offer he thinks is fair, said one of the people. Bewkes and his board rejected an $85-a-share approach in 2014 from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., which valued Time Warner at more than $75 billion.

AT&T has transformed itself over the last decade from a regional phone company to a national telecommunications powerhouse. Its plan to focus on media and entertainment targets include companies worth $2 billion to $50 billion, people familiar with the plans said earlier this month. 

Earlier this year, Apple official raised the idea of buying Time Warner, sources were quoted in the Financial Times, revealing the tech company's possible interest in creating its own content.

The Apple-Time Warner idea, though, never went beyond the preliminary stage after Apple executive Eddy Cue brought up the idea late last year to Time Warner's head of corporate strategy Olaf Olafsson, according to three sources who were briefed on the meeting, said the Financial Times.

The companies didn't immediately comment on Friday.

(Newsmax wire services Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report).  

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AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire media conglomerate Time Warner, and a deal could come as early as this weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported.
at&t, time warner, buy, talks
Friday, 21 October 2016 11:52 AM
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