AT&T is nearing a deal to acquire Time Warner for $110 per share, a price tag to the tune of $85 billion for the telecom. According to Reuters, AT&T has reached an agreement in principle, which is a kind of stepping stone on the path to a formal contract. It essentially puts in place the terms of a future contract, but it is not an indication of a closed deal.
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.
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, 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.
Update: Removed reference to home internet, which was spun off into an independent company called Time Warner Cable.