Rumor mill: AT&T preparing bid for piece of Time Warner Inc.

With a series of cryptic moves on Wall Street leading hedge funders and other trading-community denizens scratching their heads, there is speculation that AT&T (NYSE: T) is about to close in on a major media acquisition.

Specifically, there are rumors that AT&T is about to buy a part of Time Warner Inc. Not surprisingly, this report comes from the keyboard of the New York Post's Claire Atkinson, who has reported just about every Time Warner Inc. rumor she's heard about in recent weeks. 

This time around, Atkinson cites two of the paper's "well-placed tipsters" who say AT&T is interested in carving out the Turner Networks portion of the Time Warner Inc. asset portfolio.

Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes has already said publicly that he's not open to spinning out such assets.

And Atkinson also pointed out the challenges of an acquisition so soon after AT&T closed on its $49 billion purchase of DirecTV. She also noted, however, AT&T's interest in launching over-the-top programming services and its existing relationship with Peter Chernin and his Otter Media to develop content.

Other operators are moving to augment broadband connectivity growth with content, evidenced by Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) $500 million investment last year in Buzzfeed and Vox.

Time Warner Inc. has a market cap of more than $56 billion. 

Atkinson also said that Liberty Media and John Malone are "keeping a close eye" on struggling media empire Viacom. 

For more:
- read this New York Post story

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