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Senior-level executives at AT&T and Time Warner have reportedly met in recent weeks to discuss potential business strategies, one of which being a possible merger.
Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that the talks are still at an “informal” stage and have thus far focused on building a relationship between the companies. Neither side has yet hired a financial advisor, a typical move when companies are considering conducting a significant business transaction like a merger or buyout.
One of the sources said Time Warner Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes would be willing to sell if a fair offer is put on the table. In 2014, he turned down an offer of $85 per share from 21st Century Fox which would have valued Time Warner north of $75 million.
Time Warner stock has been trading just south of $80 during the last few days, shooting up to $83 on news of the discussions. AT&T shares dipped roughly two percent near the end of closing on Thursday.
Sources earlier this month told Bloomberg that AT&T is interested in acquiring businesses that will expand its reach into media and entertainment. Having scooped up DirecTV last year for $48.5 billion and having spent around $18 billion in last year’s airwaves auction left the company with just $7.2 billion in cash, far short of what it would need to land a cash-only deal for Time Warner.