Updated, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, 4:23 p.m. PT
After the markets closed Friday, news broke that AT&T and Time Warner have a deal in principle that values Time Warner at $85 billion, or $110 per share, Reuters reported.
Earlier in the day, just the whiff of news that the deal was in the works sent the media giant’s share price up nearly 9 percent to $ 89.48 per share when the market closed on Friday.
AT&T’s share price, meanwhile, dropped 3 percent to $37.49 per share.
Talks of a potential AT&T-Time Warner merger come just as Viacom and CBS are talking about coming together again.
After its $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV in 2015, AT&T is seen as a company looking to build up its content assets. Acquiring Time Warner would immediately make AT&T one of the world’s largest producers of film, television and digital content. Time Warner owns such premium content brands as HBO; Turner, which includes TNT, TBS and CNN; and Warner Bros. Television.
In 2014, AT&T acquired a stake in Peter Chernin’s Otter Media. Also late Friday, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Chernin is being considered for a major role at the new company, assuming that the deal passes shareholder and government muster.
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that a few months ago Apple had approached Time Warner about a merger, but said talks never advanced past the preliminary stage.
In 2014, 21st Century Fox made a run at Time Warner, but only offered $85 a share, which Time Warner rejected.
[Image of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes courtesy of Variety]