×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Warner Stock Pops on Report of AT&T Potential Merger Talks

Shares of Time Warner jumped as much as 9% Thursday following a Bloomberg report that top execs from AT&T and the media conglomerate have met to discuss a potential merger, among other possible business partnerships.

No deal has been reached, per the report, and the talks are informal for now. Time Warner and AT&T are focused on “building relations between the companies, rather than establishing the terms of a specific transaction,” according to the Bloomberg report, which cited anonymous sources.

Reps for Time Warner and AT&T declined to comment. Time Warner, whose holdings include Warner Bros., Turner and HBO, has a market cap of about $65 billion.

Time Warner shares closed up 4.7% on Thursday, to $82.99 per share. AT&T’s stock fell 1.9%, closing at $38.65 per share.

Time Warner has been in play before: In 2014, it rejected a $80 billion takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox after concluding that “we just didn’t think it made sense” given Time Warner’s potential growth trajectory, chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said at an investor conference two years ago.

AT&T — looking for new avenues of growth as its booming wireless business begins to flatten out — has stepped up its presence in the media and entertainment sector over the last few years. Its biggest move to date has been the $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, which it closed in July 2015. AT&T also has a joint venture with Chernin Group, called Otter Media, which is the majority owner of multiplatform network Fullscreen.

By owning Time Warner, if such a union ever happened, AT&T would look more like Comcast with NBCUniversal: a vertically integrated provider of content, distribution and access services comprising movie, TV and video-game entertainment, mobile, broadband and communications services. AT&T already has a national TV distribution footprint in DirecTV, and operates one of the U.S.’s biggest wireless networks.

A Time Warner-AT&T merger would be a back-to-the-future moment for Bewkes. In March 2009, Time Warner spun off Time Warner Cable (now part of Charter Communications), which Bewkes said at the time had different “strategic goals and capital needs” than its media businesses.

As for potential strategic partnerships, AT&T and Time Warner could possibly team up to jointly develop a direct-to-consumer entertainment offering, coupling the media company’s entertainment assets with the telco’s distribution infrastructure.

Time Warner has been looking to stake a bigger claim in the over-the-top video future as the health of the pay TV sector appears uncertain. Last year it launched the standalone HBO Now service — no cable or satellite TV required — and in August acquired a 10% stake in Hulu, joining Disney, Comcast and Fox, which now each own 30% of the streaming service.

AT&T also is prepping an OTT play with DirecTV Now, a suite of pay-TV bundles delivered over the internet set to launch this fall, while Fullscreen earlier this year rolled out a $5-per-month subscription-video service aimed at millennials with original content from some big-name internet influencers.

More Biz

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

  • Aretha Franklin'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of

    Three Handwritten Wills Found in Aretha Franklin's Home

    While Aretha Franklin was thought to have died without leaving behind a will, earlier this month three documents were discovered by her niece and filed in court earlier this week, according to the Associated Press. Two handwritten wills, dating from 2010, were found in a locked cabinet, and another from 2014 was discovered in a [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Gersh Agency Stirs Ire After Canceling Network Meeting for Former Client

    In a sign of hostility in the war between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, Gersh Agency has come under fire from TV and film writers for canceling a network meeting that it had arranged for a now-former client. Writer Jorge Reyes disclosed the incident in a series of tweets on Monday. Reyes asserted [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content