CNBC Details 2015 Acquisition Talks Between Apple and Time Warner

Back in 2015, Apple considered purchasing Time Warner, with Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue suggesting Apple bid on the media conglomerate.

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Discussions did not ultimately progress and there was no purchase, but CNBC today provided some previously unknown background information about the talks between the two companies.

‌Eddy Cue‌ met with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and former executive vice president Olaf Olafsson in 2015 to start discussing partnership opportunities that would see Apple exclusively offering Time Warner content, perhaps bundling Turner and HBO content for a monthly fee.

Talks went on for a few weeks and involved Apple CEO Tim Cook, but ultimately soured over disagreements about fees and marketing. Offering Turner networks outside of a cable bundle could anger pay-TV distributors, and Apple was concerned about annoying existing media partners.

There were also fears that either Apple or Time Warner could eventually back out of the exclusive partnership, which could be disastrous to their future relationships. Because of this, Cook, Cue, and Bewkes briefly discussed an Apple acquisition of Time Warner.

Cue "expressed interest" in a full acquisition of Time Warner, but Cook was not ready to agree to the deal, which would have been somewhere around $100 billion. Neither Cook nor Bewkes expected to reach an acquisition deal, and Time Warner was ultimately sold to AT&T.

Today, AT&T has combined WarnerMedia with Discovery (pending regulatory approval), and the deal was structured in a way that allows the WarnerMedia-Discovery company to be sold down the road. CNBC suggests that Apple is one of the few companies that could afford to purchase WarnerMedia-Discovery.

Since its 2015 talks with Time Warner, Apple has gone on to establish its own catalog of original content and an Apple TV+ streaming service, though a major acquisition like WarnerMedia would give it the content that it needs to compete with other companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

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Top Rated Comments

Apple_Robert Avatar
39 months ago
Translation = 6.5 years ago Apple and Time Warner had a talk and not much happened.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Momus Avatar
39 months ago
What they need to do is buy Disney
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SDJim Avatar
39 months ago
Okay but are we just going to move past OLAF OLAFSSON without saying anything???
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robotica Avatar
39 months ago
They could buy CBS Viacom for much less and have all of Star Trek. I think that apple would be a good home for that. It would also add a lot of other shows to give apple tv+ a much needed boost.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hxlover904 Avatar
39 months ago

Does Apple have $500 billion?
They have that much stuck in the cracks of the sofa.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goobot Avatar
39 months ago

Seems like everything I read about Eddy Cue sounds like he's made Apple lose its roots.

He brought Apple Music to Android.
Apple has never been in the content business before, but that changed with TV+.
TV+ constantly advertises via push notifications.
Apple Arcade? What problem is Apple solving? We now have Games and Apple Arcade tabs on the bottom of the App Store which takes up 40% of the row.
Constant advertising in Settings to sign up for Apple Pay, Arcade, TV+, iCloud storage, etc...

Seems like everything he's done after Steve passed is a pure money grab and not really solving user problems.
Apple Music on android is kinda like iTunes on windows, necessary to thrive.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)