The name of the game in these content and distribution businesses is consolidation. Verizon has been on a buying and building binge recently with the purchase of AOL, an ongoing buyout of Yahoo and the creation of its go90 streaming service.
AT&T may follow in its competitor’s footsteps, according to Bloomberg, as it is in preliminary talks with Time Warner (not Time Warner Cable, which was acquired by Charter Communications) to buy it out. Time Warner is open to selling itself, though it denied 21st Century Fox’s $75 billion bid in 2014. Apple was also rumored to have a passing interest in the owner of HBO, Turner Broadcasting System and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The Dallas-based telco is making the effort to expand beyond the tubes and invest in media and entertainment. Here’s the thing, though: it spent $48.5 billion to take over satellite TV provider DirecTV, $18 billion on last year’s federal spectrum auction, has $120 billion in debt and only $7.2 billion of cash on hand.
It’s said that AT&T has been targeting media purchases between $2 and $50 billion.