Apple monitoring AT&T's potential merger with Time Warner, report says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2016
As rumors fly over a potential tie-up between AT&T and Time Warner, a report on Friday claims Apple approached the media company about a potential merger months ago, though talks failed to progress past a preliminary stage.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reports Apple executives under CEO Tim Cook met with counterparts at Time Warner "a few months ago" to discuss a possible buyout. Though the talks bore no fruit, Apple is said to be monitoring similar overtures from AT&T that could result in a deal as soon as this weekend.

Today's report echoes rumors from May suggesting Apple mulled a buyout of Time Warner in 2015. At the time, reports claimed the merger topic came up during a meeting between iTunes chief Eddy Cue and Time Warner's head of corporate strategy Olaf Olafsson, but talks never progressed beyond early stage conversations.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes in August laid rumors to rest when he said the meeting was part of a larger strategy discuss user experience solutions with technology companies, Apple included.

"That particular one is more about the efforts of the technology companies, Apple included, who we've been trying to help because we want this better user interface, and what they should do and how would they get involved," Bewkes said when asked about Cue's sit-down with Olafsson. "That's more about that than M&A. I don't think M&A was serious."

Serious or not, today's report claims Apple is closely monitoring the AT&T buyout proceedings. If the telco can raise the capital, it will score rights to Time Warner's massive content empire, including the likes of HBO, TNT, and CNN. The package would go a long way toward advancing AT&T's strategy to push into the media and entertainment industry, a plan put in motion when it acquired DirecTV for $48.5 billion last year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    Monitoring?  If they want it, they should make an offer.

    I think Apple only wants HBO, not the whole enchilada.

    edited October 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Apple is monitoring? Why is this a news story? And what exactly are they monitoring? Anyone who thinks Apple should spend billions on a old media conglomerate is a nut. I want Apple to be the platform for all content. Wouldn't owning a content company make it more difficult to do deals with other content providers? Apple should be a neutral platform.
    bdkennedy1002macseekeranantksundaramfrankietallest skilRayz2016uraharajahbladetokyojimucornchip
  • Reply 3 of 40
    Apple is monitoring? Why is this a news story? And what exactly are they monitoring? Anyone who thinks Apple should spend billions on a old media conglomerate is a nut. I want Apple to be the platform for all content. Wouldn't owning a content company make it more difficult to do deals with other content providers? Apple should be a neutral platform.
    Depends on your aspirations or ambition.  This is one theory:

    http://www.aboveavalon.com/notes/2016/10/20/apples-trojan-horse-into-hollywood
    buckalec
  • Reply 4 of 40
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 598member
  • Reply 5 of 40
    According to Reuters, AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for $85B. Deal could be announced on Sunday. Does this mean my DirecTV bill will become cheaper because AT&T no longer has to pay carriage fees for all the WB cable properties like CNN, TNT & HBO?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-time-warner-m-a-at-t-idUSKCN12L1Y0
  • Reply 6 of 40
    NY1822 said:
    Ha ha ha. Hulu. Apple wants Hulu and is going to buy TWC to get 10%?. Riiiiight.
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 40
    I thought Charter bought Time Warner and after the merger renamed itself Spectrum.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 8 of 40
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 598member
    NY1822 said:
    Ha ha ha. Hulu. Apple wants Hulu and is going to buy TWC to get 10%?. Riiiiight.
    i should have stated I don't want them to buy Time Warner...i'd 
    rather them figure out how to turn ITunes into a NFLX type offering than make a content acquisition..Charge me $10 to my itunes account for all access to ITunes Movie Library and I wouldn't even blink (minus some recent movies).....
    HBO is the only attractive asset to Apple

    I don't see big money in cord cutting packages, the market is not big enough and too many options.
    Once the government agrees to deregulate the set-top box, cord cutting will loose even more luster 
    edited October 2016 baconstang
  • Reply 9 of 40
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,415member
    AT&T helping Apple with user interface issues...now that IS rich.
    focher
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Apple is monitoring? Why is this a news story? And what exactly are they monitoring? Anyone who thinks Apple should spend billions on a old media conglomerate is a nut. I want Apple to be the platform for all content. Wouldn't owning a content company make it more difficult to do deals with other content providers? Apple should be a neutral platform.
    I think perhaps Apple's monitoring is waiting to see what AT&T was going to bid - $85B so Apple can swoop in at the last minute and bid higher.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    NY1822 said:
    NY1822 said:
    Ha ha ha. Hulu. Apple wants Hulu and is going to buy TWC to get 10%?. Riiiiight.
    i should have stated I don't want them to buy Time Warner...i'd 
    rather them figure out how to turn ITunes into a NFLX type offering than make a content acquisition..Charge me $10 to my itunes account for all access to ITunes Movie Library and I wouldn't even blink (minus some recent movies).....
    HBO is the only attractive asset to Apple

    I don't see big money in cord cutting packages, the market is not big enough and too many options.
    Once the government agrees to deregulate the set-top box, cord cutting will loose even more luster 
    Fair enough. I should have given you the benefit of a doubt. I'm so used to bonehead comments around these parts it's easy to knee jerk. 

    I think the problem Apple is facing In terms of opening up iTunes is that the studios won't let them since ITS is the new premium market. And basically the only premium market. Sure there's BD but how many people use BD? Otherwise everything else is nickel amd
    dime  if they open up the store to a monthly studios lose big time. I'm not sure how they would limit consumption so that you'd want to pay top dollar for anything. It's like this. You go to a movie and down the road they want you to buy the "VHS, DVD, BD, 4K BD, download movie, (insert your format here). Then way down the line when everyone who's going to BUY the movie has bought it you open it up to rentals, syndication on premium channels like starts or HBO, a year later you'll see it in FX whatever on down the line. If you open up the ITS how would studios make money. $10/ month gets you Netflix. And their selection is kind of piss poor when it comes to streaming blockbuster movies. That's the case for a reason. The studios will NEVER give up their premium market. it would be like Rolex deciding to rent and lease their watches hoping that they rent and lease SO MANY that they'll make a killing. When they know they'll never lease enough watches to ever touch the value of current market. No one buys physical media. ITS is THE market. Imagine you could borrow any movie or record from Tower Records back in the day for $10-20/ month. Do you think the studios would ha e gone for that? No way. You had to wait until the movie trickled down into that market. They are not giving up the first bite at Apple nor the second. For a reasonble monthly you will get a bite at what's left of the core. 
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 12 of 40
    bdkennedy said:
    Apple is monitoring? Why is this a news story? And what exactly are they monitoring? Anyone who thinks Apple should spend billions on a old media conglomerate is a nut. I want Apple to be the platform for all content. Wouldn't owning a content company make it more difficult to do deals with other content providers? Apple should be a neutral platform.
    I think perhaps Apple's monitoring is waiting to see what AT&T was going to bid - $85B so Apple can swoop in at the last minute and bid higher.
    So you think Apple should bid on this? That is really getting away from Apple's core competencies.
  • Reply 13 of 40

    I thought Charter bought Time Warner and after the merger renamed itself Spectrum.
    This is Time Warner the media company that owns movie studios, cable networks and comics. I believe they spun off Time Warner cable back in 2009.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 14 of 40
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    NY1822 said:
    NY1822 said:
    Ha ha ha. Hulu. Apple wants Hulu and is going to buy TWC to get 10%?. Riiiiight.
    i should have stated I don't want them to buy Time Warner...i'd 
    rather them figure out how to turn ITunes into a NFLX type offering than make a content acquisition..Charge me $10 to my itunes account for all access to ITunes Movie Library and I wouldn't even blink (minus some recent movies).....
    HBO is the only attractive asset to Apple

    I don't see big money in cord cutting packages, the market is not big enough and too many options.
    Once the government agrees to deregulate the set-top box, cord cutting will loose even more luster 
    Fair enough. I should have given you the benefit of a doubt. I'm so used to bonehead comments around these parts it's easy to knee jerk. 

    I think the problem Apple is facing In terms of opening up iTunes is that the studios won't let them since ITS is the new premium market. And basically the only premium market. Sure there's BD but how many people use BD? Otherwise everything else is nickel amd
    dime  if they open up the store to a monthly studios lose big time. I'm not sure how they would limit consumption so that you'd want to pay top dollar for anything. It's like this. You go to a movie and down the road they want you to buy the "VHS, DVD, BD, 4K BD, download movie, (insert your format here). Then way down the line when everyone who's going to BUY the movie has bought it you open it up to rentals, syndication on premium channels like starts or HBO, a year later you'll see it in FX whatever on down the line. If you open up the ITS how would studios make money. $10/ month gets you Netflix. And their selection is kind of piss poor when it comes to streaming blockbuster movies. That's the case for a reason. The studios will NEVER give up their premium market. it would be like Rolex deciding to rent and lease their watches hoping that they rent and lease SO MANY that they'll make a killing. When they know they'll never lease enough watches to ever touch the value of current market. No one buys physical media. ITS is THE market. Imagine you could borrow any movie or record from Tower Records back in the day for $10-20/ month. Do you think the studios would ha e gone for that? No way. You had to wait until the movie trickled down into that market. They are not giving up the first bite at Apple nor the second. For a reasonble monthly you will get a bite at what's left of the core. 
     Vudu is catching up to Apple because iTunes is slacking. 
  • Reply 15 of 40
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    bdkennedy said:
    Apple is monitoring? Why is this a news story? And what exactly are they monitoring? Anyone who thinks Apple should spend billions on a old media conglomerate is a nut. I want Apple to be the platform for all content. Wouldn't owning a content company make it more difficult to do deals with other content providers? Apple should be a neutral platform.
    I think perhaps Apple's monitoring is waiting to see what AT&T was going to bid - $85B so Apple can swoop in at the last minute and bid higher.
    So you think Apple should bid on this? That is really getting away from Apple's core competencies.
    Buying a "content provider" is a proven route to disaster, e.g., Sony and MGM.

    The entertainment biz is poison, and it doesn't make people's lives better, it makes them worse. The more the masses are diverted by thrills, the less they know history, or even what's going on in the present. 

    I would hate to see Apple making money on stupifying people. And as you say, core competency — tech artists don't have the perverse money-grubbing instincts that's fueled Hollywood and the TV business for a couple of generations, if not from the very beginning. 
    palomine
  • Reply 16 of 40
    What if Apple *is* involved in this deal.
    What if at&t and Apple have a deal to co-own TimeWarner or split it.

    What are the chances that AT&T all by itself would buy DirectTV for 48 billion and then TimeWarner for 85 billion.
    That sure is risky business with a changing media landscape.

    "Among its assets are New Line CinemaHome Box OfficeTurner Broadcasting SystemThe CW Television NetworkWarner Bros.CNNCartoon NetworkBoomerangAdult SwimDC ComicsWarner Bros. AnimationCastle Rock EntertainmentCartoon Network StudiosEsporte InterativoHanna-Barbera ProductionsWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and as of August 2016, it owns 10% of Hulu."
  • Reply 17 of 40
    frankiefrankie Posts: 371member
    This merger should be illegal from a monopoly POV anyway.  
    iqatedo
  • Reply 18 of 40
    I think it is quite possible that Apple is involved.  NetFLIX has a market cap of 55b and TWx is about 72B.  So buying them outright is too expensive. So a content sharing agreement, from TWX subsidiaries for say the price of 25-35B, will give Apple all the content (Through HBO/TBS) it needs for offering entertainment and news channels to create skinny bundle on Apple TV interface. Unlike Comcast and others, the relationship of Apple and At&T management has always been good.  If not directly subsidizing the purchase, both are likely to create a partnership for "Apple/AT&T" TV.  Like Apple did with IBM for creating enhanced service offerings. 
  • Reply 19 of 40
    frankie said:
    This merger should be illegal from a monopoly POV anyway.  
    What monopoly? 
  • Reply 20 of 40

    { INSERT COMPANY NAME }  monitoring AT&T's potential merger.  

    crying inside


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