AT&T Inc (T.N) is in advanced discussions to acquire media conglomerate Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), and a deal could come as early as this weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The talks have come together quickly and revolve around a cash-and-stock deal which would be one of the largest in the sector in recent years as telecom companies make a grab for media providers to acquire content, the Journal reported. (on.wsj.com/2eOTDjH)
Time Warner shares jumped 11.4 percent to USD 92.40 in late Friday morning trading. AT&T shares were down 3.3 percent at USD 37.39.
Time Warner, which has a market capitalization of about USD 65 billion, is an attractive target for AT&T, which has a market capitalization of about USD 238 billion, because of its premium cable channel HBO, the CNN news network, film studio Warner Bros and other media assets.
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 USD 48.5 billion.
Owning content gives cable and telecom companies leverage as customers demand smaller, hand-picked cable television offerings or dispense with cable altogether and watch shows via the internet.
Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes has not been willing to sell the company in the past. The company rejected an USD 80 billion offer from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O) in 2014.
Time Warner was not immediately available for comment. AT&T declined to comment.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that executives of both companies had discussed various business strategies, including a possible merger, in recent weeks.