Report: AT&T May Be Trying To Buy Time Warner

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With the acquisition of DirecTV complete and in the rear-view mirror behind it, AT&T is reportedly setting its eye on a new target to go out and buy: venerable media brand Time Warner.

No, not Time Warner Cable — which Charter already bought, anyway. Time Warner, the company that owns HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network, all of Warner Bros., and a whole bunch of other media brands you know.

Bloomberg reports that executives from AT&T and Time Warner have been meeting in “informal talks” during recent weeks to discuss various ways of working together — including a possible merger.

The ever-popular “people familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg that the deliberations are still just private talks, and nothing has yet elevated to the stage of hiring a financial advisor or seeking specific transaction terms.

Still, analysts Bloomberg spoke with basically found branching into content to be an obvious move for AT&T. Basically, the once-Ma-Bell, now-Death-Star would be pulling a Comcast: that cable giant acquired NBCUniversal in a master stroke of vertical integration in 2011, and we’ve all been living with the consequences ever since.

Acquiring a media powerhouse like Time Warner would give AT&T a whole lot of original, high-value content right there under its own roof, which is helpful when it comes to both saving money on, and making large profits from, showing people content.

Time Warner, however, may be more cautious. As Bloomberg points out, it’s been acquired before: remember AOL Time Warner? That 2001 merger — landing exactly when dial-up died and always-on internet, without AOL, began to hit big — is widely considered one of the worst merger ideas in the history of business.

AT&T Discussed Idea of Takeover in Time Warner Meetings [Bloomberg]

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