Time Warner’s stock soared nearly 8% Friday on reports that telecom and media giant AT&T may make a takeover bid for the company.
However, a finalized deal could be approved as soon as Sunday and may be announced on Monday, according to Bloomberg, which earlier today originally reported the per-share acquisition amount. At $110 a share, AT&T would be paying a roughly 23 percent premium on Time Warner’s market value at close this afternoon, which was around $70 billion. AT&T is worth about $226 billion.
AT&T recently completed the acquisition of satellite TV provider DirecTV, which has access to 20 million households in the United States and also holds the lucrative rights to the National Football League’s Sunday Ticket package.
AT&T’s broadband U-Verse service has another 5 million subscribers in the U.S. AT&T also still owns a huge wireless and landline phone business as well. This is the company many still know by its nickname Ma Bell after all.
A purchase of Time Warner would immediately make AT&T a global media giant, on par with cable company Comcast () — which also owns NBCUniversal and DreamWorks Animation — as well as Disney ( ), the parent of ESPN, ABC, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has made it known that he wants AT&T to control more programming. And the Comcast-NBC merger has proven that a content distribution firm can thrive by owning a media firm as well.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that talks between AT&T and Time Warner have been taking place for several weeks.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is a “willing seller” if he “gets an offer he thinks is fair,” Bloomberg said, citing an anonymous source.
If AT&T does indeed buy Time Warner, it would be the largest acquisition of the year and give AT&T control of HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Time Warner’s massive home internet business, among the company’s many other subsidiaries. This all part of AT&T’s grander plans to better compete with the likes of Comcast and best rivals like Verizon by becoming both a internet services company and the owner of a media empire. Last year, AT&T purchased DirectTV for $48.5 billion to further this goal. It is unlikely that the deal would be blocked by anti-trust regulators, Reuters reports, although their may be some neccesary strings to attach before the US Justice Department approves it.