The Associated Press has learned a $5 billion deal between Time Warner and Dish Network could be coming to fruition, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
Time Warner’s $4.6 billion acquisition of Dish Network and the combined company would give it control of a cable network that has been a fixture on the airwaves for more than 40 years.
Dish Network is owned by Comcast Corp., and Dish’s parent company Comcast Corp. has invested in Time Warner Cable since 2010.
Dish and Comcast’s stake in the Time Warner group has grown steadily over the past few years, but the merger is the first major cable company acquisition since Comcast bought Time Warner in a deal that was announced in December.
Dish is one of a handful of cable companies to have received the largest offer for Time Warner since the merger was announced, a person familiar with Dish’s thinking told The Associated, citing a source with knowledge of Dish’s plans.
The company did not respond to requests for comment.
Dish’s offer includes Dish’s television network, including its CNN, MSNBC and Warner Bros. television channels, as well as other content and digital assets.
Dish is also the nation’s largest pay-TV operator, with 1.5 million customers.
Dish could face competition from Time Warner, which is trying to lure more subscribers to its DirecTV service.
Dish also has a smaller footprint than Time Warner.
Dish owns the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball.
Time Warner is one-third owned by Charter Communications Inc. Charter owns Direcetown, the satellite TV network that Dish owns.
Dish does not own NBCUniversal.
Dish has said it will use the $1.2 trillion merger to grow its own content portfolio, including more original programming and sports programming.
The $5-billion deal would give Dish a significant stake in Time, but it would not be able to acquire the entire network or all of the channels.
Dish would also get the right to air Time Warner’s network in the U.S. and internationally.
Dish had been eyeing Time Warner for years.
Time has also been trying to acquire Direc TV for more time than Time and Dish expected.
Dish was hoping to buy CNN, but Dish Networks President Jeff Bewkes said last month that it had not made any significant offers to buy the network.
The two companies have had a rocky relationship over the last few years and the deal could be more complicated than previously reported.
Dish said last week it has completed a review of the deal and has decided not to pursue a transaction.
Dish Networks, which owns CNN and Time Warner TV, is also in talks with other potential buyers.
Dish President Dan Wiederer has previously said the Dish Network business would be spun off into a new company.
Time, meanwhile, said it would use the merger to increase its content offerings and add new programming.
Dish already owns a major online video streaming service called HBO GO and has launched several high-profile sports shows.