Why Apple is monitoring the AT&T and Time Warner deal

Apple reportedly looked into acquiring Time Warner, owner of HBO and CNN, but it has new reasons to be interested.


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After Apple reportedly looked into acquiring Time Warner, it may be AT&T walking away with the media property. But Cupertino still has its eye on the price.

AT&T is in “advanced talks” to acquire Time Warner with a deal reportedly being finalized as early as this weekend. According to The Wall Street Journal, however, Apple is now closely monitoring the merger to see if any other bids surface or if other media properties suddenly become highly desirable. The AT&T and Time Warner deal could spark further consolidations of media companies with tech and telecom giants.

According to Wikipedia, Time Warner is one of the largest media companies in the world, second only to Disney. The Wall Street Journal reports that Time Warner is looking for a bid worth north of $100 billion for the acquisition.

In late 2015, Apple’s senior VP of Internet services Eddy Cue proposed bidding for Time Warner, which owns the Warner Bros. movie studio, HBO, and CNN. The acquisition would in essence give Apple the production assets to fully compete with Netflix and Amazon. 

Why this matters: Cue’s proposed bid for Time Warner never made it past the preliminary stages, so it seems unlikely that Apple will present a better offer at the last minute. Just this week, Cue said that Apple was not looking to compete directly against Netflix, so a bid for Time Warner would be coming out of left field.

“The real opportunity for us is to make it easier to get access to all this content,” Cue said during his Vanity Fair New Establishment panel on Thursday. In fact, Cue was joined by HBO CEO Richard Plepler, who commended Apple for being a great tech partner. If anything, Apple might be monitoring the AT&T and Time Warner deal to see how it might affect its partnership with HBO and other Time Warner content providers.

Apple has begun developing original content particularly for Apple Music, but Cue confirmed that those plans will remain limited.

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