AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today joined Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) in vieing for the potential acqusitions of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX). AT&T, which already owns DIRECTV, would add Time Warner to its media collection.
Time Warner chief executive officer Jeff Bewkes is against the sale saying that it would destroy the company’s value. Long-term investors are increasingly running out of patience with the company and may support either a breakup or sale.
Meanwhile, Apple is keeping close tabs on the potential sale of Time Warner. The purchase of Timer Warner would be a big move for Apple, kick starting its TV streaming services that are scheduled to be launched this year. Lately, Time Warner has come under immense pressure from its shareholder base to either spin off some assets or sell itself entirely. Time Warner shares are currently trading at $71, down from an $85 offer made last year by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA). and this among other reasons are inducing shareholders to pile pressure on Timer Warner.
Apple is expected to start its streaming services this year after last year’s negotiation went slow with TV networks. Apple could see an acquisition as a way of speeding up operations on that front.
Time Warner owns CNN, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, HBO, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros movies and TV shows. If Apple owns these, it would only have to negotiate with ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox to kick off its operations in the space.
Apple already has Apple TV in its fourth user generation. Users have the chance the stream on demand content and major apps including MLM.TV and ESPN among others. Rumor has it that Apple is considering a package deal that is similar to SlingTV, an internet-based $20 per month TV package that has close to 20 major channels. Sony’s PlayStation Vue is another similar offering though it would be more expensive.
Though Apple has not yet confirmed the rumor, a source close to Apple stated that its senior vice president of Internet software is keeping close tabs. It will particularly interesting to see how a traditionally tight-focused company like Apple will handle running a Hollywood studio.