Senior executives of telecommunications company AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) and media conglomerate Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) have discussed various business strategies including a possible merger in recent weeks, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.
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Time Warner shares jumped 4.7 percent in regular trading and extended gains slightly after hours. AT&T shares slipped 1.8 percent.
Neither side has yet hired a financial adviser, Bloomberg said.
Time Warner declined to comment. AT&T could not be immediately reached for comment.
Time Warner is attractive because of its premium cable channel HBO, the CNN news network and other media assets.
AT&T has been seeking to transform itself into a media powerhouse, most recently buying satellite TV provider DIRECTV for $48.5 billion.
Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes has not been willing to sell the company in the past. The company rejected an $80 billion offer by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc in 2014.
Talk of a deal comes as another potential bidder, Verizon Communications Inc, is busy with its purchase of internet company Yahoo Inc, which has been set back by news of a massive hacking breach into Yahoo customers' email accounts.
Time Warner has a market value of about $65 billion. AT&T has a market value of about $238 billion. (Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by Bill Rigby)