AT&T to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion

via Shawn ShinnemanDallas Business Journal

AT&T (NYSE: T) has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Time Warner Inc. for about $85 billion, Reuters reported Friday evening.

The enormous merger would boost the Dallas telco’s recent push into the entertainment realm, making it one of the largest content producers in the country. Its purchase of DirecTV last year made it the largest distributor of pay TV in the U.S.

An announcement from the two sides could come as early as Sunday. The deal has been agreed on “most terms,” the report said.

A deal valued at $85 billion would make the merger the largest of the year.

The timeline has moved quickly since initial reports Thursday that the two sides had entered informal talks. By Friday morning, the discussions were reportedly “advanced,” with AT&T wanting to move fast to fend off other potential buyers – including Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Apple.

Owning more of the content they distribute allows companies to be creative, an idea that is increasingly attractive as the future of TV bends toward a software-centric format and consumers opt toward personalized content packages. The satellite dish and cable box have started a slow decline.

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