AT&T’s WarnerMedia in talks to sell TMZ to Fox: report

AT&T is in talks to sell WarnerMedia’s popular celebrity gossip site TMZ to Fox, according to a report from The Information.

The move comes as AT&T has inked a $43 billion deal to spin off its WarnerMedia entertainment division to Discovery, owner of TLC, Animal Planet and HGTV.

Neither Fox nor AT&T/ WarnerMedia returned requests for comment.

Until that mega deal closes— sometime in the middle of next year — the telecom giant is required to operate on a business-as-usual basis, the report said.

Over the course of the year, AT&T, led by CEO John Stankey, has focused on selling off non-core businesses to raise cash in order to pay down debt and make new investments in 5G technology.

AT&T CEO John Stankey
AT&T CEO John Stankey is focusing on selling off the company’s media and entertainment businesses as the firm builds out its 5G offering.
Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Aside from the Discovery deal, this year alone, AT&T has sold its animé streaming business Crunchyroll to Sony for about $1 billion, and it spun off its DirectTV business, selling a 30 percent stake to private equity firm TPG.

In the case of TMZ, it isn’t clear if the gossip site was part of the Discovery deal and if there would be any adjustments in the deal terms as a result.

TMZ is in talks to be sold to Fox.
TMZ is in talks to be sold to Fox.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
The Fox News logo seen outside the News Corp building in Manhattan.
The Fox News logo seen outside the News Corp building in Manhattan.
Alamy Stock Photo
AT&T is the owner of WarnerMedia.
AT&T is the owner of WarnerMedia.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As for Fox, TMZ is already a known entity to the network. Its syndicated gossip show “TMZ on TV” airs on Fox stations. This is not the first time the Harvey Levin-founded tabloid gossip site has been rumored to be on the block. In 2017, there had been buzz that AT&T was mulling a sale of assets when it bought Time Warner.

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