AT&T Inc is trying to put together a bid for EchoStar Communications Corp before the end of the year, whetted by the satellite operator's recent stock dip, according to Barron's financial newspaper.
Shares of the second-largest U.S. satellite television operator fell 24 percent in one month, Barron's said in its November 19 edition, which may make reaching an agreement on a share purchase price easier.
In the past, AT&T has supposedly offered $65 a share and EchoStar has demanded $75 a share, Barron's said.
At Friday close, EchoStar's stock was at $39.83 on the Nasdaq, up 32 cents on the day.
Citing a person familiar with the company, Barron's said AT&T would like to get a deal done quickly because it wants an agreement in place before the next presidential election, when any victory for the Democrats, antitrust experts believe, would probably mean increased scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions.
Pushing a deal of this size through the regulatory system takes time, so it may have be done in a month or so, if it is to be done at all, Barron's said.
Also pushing the deal timeline, AT&T has said it will decide before the end of the year on the satellite provider it will use to offer video services to its phone customers.
The report follows months of speculations that AT&T may buy EchoStar to expand its video business and compete with cable providers.
On Friday, Citigroup upgraded EchoStar from a hold to a buy rating, citing an attractive valuation and its belief that there is a 65 percent chance that AT&T acquires the satellite company over the next 12 months.
(Reporting by Lisa Lee, editing by Maureen Bavdek and Braden Reddall)