The combined companies would have a market cap of over $300 billion if they reached a deal. Discussions are still only in the preliminary stages, however, reports Bloomberg:
The talks, which at this stage are informal, have focused on building relations between the companies rather than establishing the terms of a specific transaction, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Neither side has yet hired a financial adviser, the people said.
Time Warner Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes is a willing seller, said one of the people, if he gets an offer he thinks is fair. Bewkes and his board rejected an $85-a-share approach in 2014 from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., which valued Time Warner at more than $75 billion.
Meanwhile, another source indicated AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson wants to add more content and original programming to its company’s intellectual property. Time Warner would appear to fit the bill, given its ownership of HBO, Warner Brothers, and Turner media properties, which include CNN and TBS, among others.
Time Warner shares surged $3.75 (+4.73%) to $82.99 just before the closing bell today as the news broke.
In contrast, AT&T shares closed down $0.73 (-1.85%) to $38.65 on the day.