Yesterday, we learned that AT&T was in “informal talks” to acquire Time Warner Inc. Everyone must have got on pretty well, because the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that a deal could be done as soon as this weekend.
The report from the WSJ is thin on details, but the Bloomberg report from yesterday suggested that “senior executives at AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. have met in recent weeks to discuss various business strategies including a possible merger.”
AT&T is one of the largest cable TV and internet companies in the country. But, with cable profits falling and Netflix making serious money by producing its own shows, AT&T is said to be interested in acquiring a media company. A merger of AT&T and Time Warner would create one massive company that commissions and produces content, then sells it to cable subscribers over a cable network that it owns. That sounds great for business, but a little less fun if you’re paying the bills.
Exactly how much Time Warner would be worth to AT&T is debatable, but the company is currently valued by the stock market at about $62 billion. Time Warner rejected a takeover offer of $75 billion in 2014.
The obvious sticking point for a merger or acquisition would be regulation. Anti-competition regulators would need to look closely at the deal before it went through. Even if terms are agreed to this weekend, as the WSJ suggests is possible, it would be months or years before anything really happened.