Time Warner Inc: AT&T Was Only Company Interested in Buying Us

Time Warner logoThe CEO of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) today revealed an interesting bit of information about its takeover by AT&T, namely, that the telecom giant was the only firm that approached TWX regarding a buyout.

Rumors spread over the weekend that other companies were in fact interested in Time Warner, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), but apparently that wasn’t the case. From Reuters:

Time Warner Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes said on Monday that AT&T Inc was the only company to make a takeover approach for the media group. AT&T said on Saturday it had agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion, or $107.50 per share, to gain control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Warner Bros, and other coveted media assets.

What’s more, the chances of another suitor emerging at this point appear slim:

“Given the steep multiples being offered by AT&T, we doubt a competing offer for the whole of Time Warner can emerge,” said Credit Suisse analyst Omar Sheikh.

The blockbuster deal is expected to receive intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators, but AT&T is confident the acquisition will be completed as scheduled. Speaking with CNBC, CEO Randall Stephenson said that “While regulators will often time have concerns with vertical integrations, those are always remedied by conditions imposed on the merger, so that’s how we envision this one to play out.”

There’s no word yet on what special conditions AT&T is planning on, but there is a recent precedent the company can point to: Comcast’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal. That move put Comcast on the map as a major integrated content/distribution play, and no doubt helped inspire AT&T to do the same with Time Warner.

Many Wall Street analysts aren’t as confident the deal will get regulatory approval, however. MoffettNathanson Research puts the odds of completion at 50/50, while Cowen & Co noted that potential turmoil in Washington makes the transaction “riskier than would be typical.”

Time Warner shares fell $1.23 (-1.37%) to $88.25 in premarket trading Monday. Year-to-date, TWX has risen 38.36%, with much of those gains coming as a result of the AT&T takeover.