AT&T agrees in principle to buy Time Warner for $85 billion. If successful the deal would give AT&T access to HBO, CNN, Warner bros as well as other media assets.
AT&T Inc has reached a principal agreement to buy Time Warner Inc for about $85 billion, paving the way for what would be the biggest deal in the world this year, giving the telecom company control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Warner Bros and other coveted media assets.
The deal, which has been agreed on most terms and could be announced as early as Sunday, would be one of the largest in recent years in the sector as telecommunications companies look to combine content and distribution to capture customers replacing traditional pay-TV packages with more streamlined offerings and online delivery.
AT&T, which sells wireless phone and broadband services, has already made moves to turn itself into a media powerhouse, buying satellite TV provider DirecTV last year for $48.5 billion. It also in 2014 entered a joint venture, Otter Media, with the Chernin Group to invest in media businesses, and has rolled out video streaming services.
AT&T will pay $110 per Time Warner share in cash and stock, or about $85 billion overall. It will need to line up financing to pay for the deal, since it only has $7.2 billion in cash on hand. This could put pressure on its credit rating as it already has $120 billion in net debt as of June 30, according to Moody’s.
Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes rejected an $80 billion offer from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc in 2014. The former suitor has no plans to renew its bid.