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In Play Today: Len Blavatnik eyeing Warner Bros.; Verizon exploring Charter deal


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In Play Today: Len Blavatnik eyeing Warner Bros.; Verizon exploring Charter deal

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents In Play Today, a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the sector, including rumored transactions. This summary is based on information obtained by S&P Global Market Intelligence and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity. Send comments and news leads to


* Billionaire Len Blavatnik is considering making a play for Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. studio, the New York Post reported Jan. 28, citing sources. Blavatnik reportedly discussed his interest in owning a Hollywood studio, and could be considering Warner Bros. since it is expected to be sold separately. In October 2016, AT&T Inc. agreed to purchase Time Warner in a cash-and-stock deal slated to close by the end of 2017.

* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. is in negotiations to sell its 31.2% stake in EPIX (US) to the joint venture's other partners, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount, Reuters reported Jan. 26, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Any resultant deal could reportedly value the network between $1 billion and $2 billion, the people added. There is a probability that MGM and Viacom become 50-50 partners in EPIX, the people reportedly said, adding that there is no guarantee a deal will materialize.

* Inc. and Indian e-commerce company Flipkart Online Services Pvt. withdrew from talks to buy Dubai-based e-commerce platform over price disagreement, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 18, citing two people familiar with the matter. Amazon in 2016 was reported to be in talks to acquire for about $1 billion after tapped Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to look for potential buyers.

* American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer, is interested in buying Time Inc., the New York Post reported Jan. 10, citing a "well-placed financial source." Under one possible scenario, American Media, or AMI, could team up with Meredith Corp., another potential suitor, to bid for Time Inc., according to the report.

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* is in talks about submitting an offer for bankrupt U.S. clothing manufacturer American Apparel LLC, Reuters reported Jan. 5, citing people familiar with the talks. Offers for American Apparel were scheduled to be accepted until Jan. 6, while the auction's results were reportedly expected during the week of Jan. 9.

* Alphabet Inc. is in discussions to sell its satellite imaging unit Terra Bella, formerly called Skybox Imaging, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 9, citing sources familiar with the matter. The startup company Planet, formerly known as Planet Labs, could reportedly buy Terra Bella in an equity deal. That would allow Alphabet to own a stake in Planet.

* Google Inc. is looking to acquire music-streaming service SoundCloud for about $500 million, Music Business Worldwide reported Jan. 3, citing "high-level rumors." Universal Music Leisure Ltd., Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and Warner Music own shares in SoundCloud and would get a cut from the deal if it pushes through.


* SoftBank Group Corp. is considering an investment worth over $1 billion in New York-based shared-office space firm WeWork, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 30, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal would be among the first by SoftBank's new $100 billion technology fund.

* Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Lowell McAdam reached out to officials close to Charter Communications Inc. about a potential merger, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 26, citing sources with knowledge of the details. Verizon is reportedly working with advisers on a potential deal, the sources said. The talks, however, are at an initial stage and could go either way, according to the report. Meanwhile, Reuters cited sources to report that Verizon has not proposed an acquisition to Charter.

* Gregory Maffei, chairman of Sirius XM Holdings Inc., told some shareholders that the company could consider buying Pandora Media Inc. "at the right price," the New York Post reported Jan. 12, citing a source with knowledge of the conversations. Maffei approached Pandora with an offer in 2016, and a report later that year indicated that Pandora could consider holding deal talks with potential suitors, including Sirius.