AT&T to Buy Time Warner for Roughly $85 Billion

Transaction valued at $110 per share, Reuters reports

AT&T Time Warner
AT&T Time Warner

AT&T has reached a tentative agreement to purchase media giant Time Warner for $85 billion, a new report says.

Citing multiple sources, wire service Reuters said the deal will translate to $110 per share, and could be announced as early as Sunday. The deal would be the largest media merger since AOL’s $165 billion purchase of Time Warner in 2000.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has streamlined the company in recent years, spinning off Time Warner Cable and AOL in 2009 and Time Inc. in 2014, choosing to focus on its cable channels and movie studio.

Both of those have had a resurgent 2016, which helped drive Time Warner’s stock up 28 percent year-to-date — before surging again on Friday as the deal appeared imminent. Warner Bros. placed third last year among major studios, with 14 percent market share, but is at 18 percent through Oct. 16 this year, trailing only Disney, which is on a record box office pace.

And CNN has seen its ratings soar as a result of 2016’s unpredictable and circus-like election, which has largely played out on cable news and social media. At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York last month, Bewkes said CNN was having a “killer year.”

Meanwhile, AT&T has been transforming itself, building a diversified media company atop its telecom roots. Last year, it acquired satellite TV provider DirecTV for $49 billion, and since then, it’s been negotiating deals with content providers ahead of the launch of DirecTV Now, its planned over-the-top streaming offering.