If approved by federal regulators, the biggest media deal in history may occur over the next year or so. Over the weekend, AT&T announced that it will buy Time Warner in an $85 billion deal. Details of the inked deal are still unfolding, as a joint call is scheduled for Monday (Oct. 24).
Recently, Apple had reportedly approached Time Warner about a combination between the two, but talks did not amount to anything, reported The Wall Street Journal. Now, with this deal between AT&T and Time Warner imminent, Apple is keeping a close eye on the talks, WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Time Warner has been a particularly attractive asset because it owns premium content brands, including HBO, CNN and Warner Bros., and doesn’t have a controlling shareholder.
“There has been along list of companies speculated to be interested in acquiring [Time Warner], starting with the almighty Apple. So, if AT&T wants this deal, it is in their best interest to move as fast as possible,” wrote Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research in a research note covered by WSJ before the announcement of the deal.
If a deal between AT&T and Time Warner does get the feds’ blessings, it could spark a flurry of deal making in the media industry. In July, Verizon inked a $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo’s core assets. Whether that deal will go through is anyone’s guess given the massive data breach that hit Yahoo. For AT&T, an acquisition of Time Warner will help it bolster its content offering and aid in the launch of DirecTV Now, its over-the-top streaming content service that is slated to launch this year.