AT&T Reaches $80 Billion Agreement to Buy Time Warner, WSJ Reports

Biggest media merger in years gives AT&T Warner Bros., CNN and HBO

AT&T Time Warner
AT&T Time Warner

AT&T Inc. has agreed to buy Time Warner Inc. in a deal worth about $80 billion, bringing disparate assets including satellite TV provider DirecTV, cell phone network AT&T Wireless, the Warner Bros. movie studio and HBO and Turner cable channels under one umbrella, The Wall St. Journal reported Saturday.

The deal could be announced as soon as Saturday evening, and would have AT&T pay between $105 and $110 per share of Time Warner, the Journal reported.

The proceeds would be paid half in cash and half in stock. Both companies’ boards are currently meeting to discuss and approve the transaction, which would be the largest media merger since AOL’s ill-fated $165 billion purchase of Time Warner in 2000.

AT&T has been on a buying spree lately as it seeks to diversify further into video entertainment from its telecom roots. Last year, the company acquired satellite TV provider DirecTV for $49 billion, and it is launching a DirecTV-branded over-the-top streaming service later this year.

Buying Time Warner also gives AT&T 10 percent of Hulu, the streaming service Time Warner invested in earlier this year that is preparing to roll out its own live-TV service early next year. Between its Warner Bros. television and movie production businesses, HBO and its Turner channels, Time Warner has plenty of premium content to supply AT&T’s increasing amount of delivery systems.