A Thursday report from The Financial Times indicates Apple considered a buyout of Time Warner late last year. Apple executive Eddy Cue first raised the possibility during a meeting with Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy, Olaf Olafsson. Apple never made a bid, nor did negotiations ever reach the point of Apple CEO Tim Cook becoming involved.
However, Apple is still interested in acquiring media company talent and sources indicate the company is ramping spending on original content: “several hundred million dollars a year”.
The deal could have jump-started Apple’s long-rumored streaming television package for its popular Apple TV set-top box. If the deal had become a reality, it could have been Apple’s largest grab ever, easily outpacing the $3 billion the company spent to acquire Beats in 2014. Time Warner, which owns HBO and CNN, is valued at approximately $60 billion.
The Financial Times report jibes with a New York Post report earlier this year that said Apple was eyeing a potential takeover of Time Warner.
Long standing rumors have Apple working to create its own digital television streaming service that would offer a “skinny bundle” of channels for a monthly fee of around $40 or so. Rumors had indicated the new service would launch alongside the fourth-generation Apple TV set top box. However that device’s debut came and went in October 2015, with no sign of an announcement concerning the streaming service.