The giant american telecoms AT&T, in full offensive in the video, is in advanced discussions to buy Time Warner, which owns tv channels CNN and HBO, said Friday to AFP a source bank close to the folder.
The announcement of this mega-merger, which could exceed $ 90 billion, is expected to occur by Monday, added the source, on condition of anonymity.
According to her, the two parties have advanced on many points, but the negotiations are on the final price of the transaction and the severance payment that would be AT&T to Time Warner in the case of a veto by the regulators.
She added that a proposal around 110 dollars per share, Time Warner, or a total of close to 90 billion dollars, was likely to be.
A marriage of AT&T-Time Warner should be examined closely by competition authorities because the new entity would be alone for more than $ 300 billion in the stock Exchange, with activities ranging from the telephone to the media through the cable and the internet.
AT&T was valued 230,6 billion Friday, and Time Warner’s $ 69.6 billion.
If this mega-merger is confirmed, this would be one of the biggest marriages between a provider of access to pay tv channels and a provider of content since the acquisition in 2011 of NBCUniversal by Comcast.
The transaction would be in cash and exchange of shares, depending on the source. And it is not excluded that other buyers are emerging, notably the computer giant Apple is watching closely the developments on the folder, according to the Wall Street Journal.
AT&T and Time Warner have not responded officially.
- Barriers -
The speculation has boosted the share price of the latter.
The action of the media group, which had already gained almost 5% on Thursday, ended Friday on a bond 7.82% 89,48 dollars. It has even crossed into the session, the $ 90, for the first time in fifteen years.
This reconciliation would complement the strategic focus to the video boosted in recent years by AT&T.
one of the most “transformative” for the telecoms operator was the purchase of nearly $ 50 billion (without debt) of DirecTV, curly last summer, that has made the group one of the largest players on the american market of the television broadcast fee.
With Time Warner, the owner of the studios Warner Bros and tv channels HBO and CNN, AT&T would make this time the hand on a large catalogue of content sought in the sports, movies and tv series.
Several analysts warned, however, that such a marriage might encounter objections from us regulators.
“We believe that a long review of the antitrust (…) with an uncertain result might give both parties something to think in advance of proposing a transaction,” notes Credit Suisse, recalling the in-depth review that had endured the marriage for Comcast-NBCUniversal.
two years ago, Time Warner had rejected an offer to more than $ 75 billion from 21st Century Fox, its rival controlled by the Murdoch family, as the price proposed was considered to be inadequate. There should be no doubt this time-a significant premium to convince the shareholders.
Time Warner has also already been done in the past, an attempted marriage unhappy, with the group american internet AOL in 2000. It had ended in a divorce in 2009.
In all cases, the interest around the Time Warner “demonstrates the value of media for various distributors (telecom)”, which should support their Stock price in the medium term, notes RBC Capital Markets.
And to emphasize that Time Warner is in the sector a piece of choice, because of the contents of value of which he is owner, but also of the quite simple structure of its ownership structure, with a single class of shares.
a Lot of other big media groups in the u.s. are indeed protected by a controlling shareholder, locking a large part of the voting rights, as the Murdoch family with 21st Century Fox or the Redstone with Viacom, and CBS.
“It leaves basically that Disney, which would be impossible with a market capitalization of nearly $ 150 billion”, adds RBC.