AT&T, the second-largest carrier in the United States, is in advanced talks with media giant Time Warner about a possible merger and Apple “is now monitoring the situation”, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The Cupertino-based gadget maker was first mentioned as a possible suitor for a Time Warner takeover back in January of this year.

According to WSJ, Apple a few months ago approached Time Warner “about pursuing a combination”, but the discussions didn’t progress “beyond a preliminary stage.”

WSJ writes:

From Apple’s end, executives under Chief Executive Tim Cook were involved in the earlier talks. Apple has pursued plans to build an online TV service and has begun creating original programming of its own.
Before its most recent approach, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, brought up a potential combination in a meeting with Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy Olaf Olafsson last year, the people said, though the talks never went further than that.

AT&T has been building out its own digital content, as well as bundling DirecTV service with its own cellular options, ever since the carrier acquired DirecTV. With the potential acquisition of Time Warner, which owns some of the biggest names in content distribution (including HBO, TNT, NBA TV, CNN, and Warner Bros.), that content strategy would surely expand quite a bit.

As for Apple, the company has already been rumored to be one of the many options to acquire Time Warner, as TW’s CEO is more than willing to sell to the right bidder. However, it was also reported soon after, by Time Warner’s CEO no less, that the talks between Apple and the company “were not serious.” If this new report is true, it looks like Apple may be taking it all pretty seriously now.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


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