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Time Warner in merger talks with AT&T?

October 21, 2016

By Chris Forrester

Bloomberg is reporting that media giant Time Warner (TW) is in merger talks with telco AT&T. The telco last year bought pay-TV broadcaster DirecTV, paying $49 billion for the business.

The reports say that the discussions are “informal” but Bloomberg says that TW CEO Jeff Bewkes is interested in a sale at the right price.  Financial advisers have not been appointed, and the Bloomberg report says that various options are under consideration, and that a sale might not be the end result.

The rumour has some credibility as it has been widely reported that AT&T is interested in acquiring media businesses now that it has DirecTV under its belt.

AT&T would be picking up some impressive assets should any TW deal go ahead, not least HBO, the NBA basketball franchise, as well as the Turner Broadcaster cluster of channels including CNN and Cartoon Network and Hollywood’s largest film-to-TV studio Warner Bros.

Former 21st Century Fox exec Peter Chernin told CNBC that there was much that was attractive in the Time Warner portfolio of assets.

In 2014 it was widely reported that Time Warner had turned down a $85 a share offer from 21st Century Fox, and which would have valued TW at more than $75 billion.

TW is currently valued at some $65 billion, while AT&T has a market cap of $238 billion. TW’s share price jumped 9 per cent on the news.

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Business, DTH/Satellite, M&A, Pay TV