Apple expressed a tentative interest in acquiring media giant Time Warner, said the Financial Times, an approach that is consistent with it seeking more growth from services.
Veteran executive Eddy Cue suggested the idea of a bid at the end of last year during a meeting to discuss other matters with Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy, Olaf Olafsson, according to a number of sources.
However, discussions never went any further to involve Apple CEO Tim Cook and his counterpart at Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes.
The meeting was initially set up to discuss commercial relationships between the two companies, rather than a takeover bid. Cue’s brief includes the App Store and Apple Music, its two largest services businesses.
In its most recent quarterly results, Apple reported a decline in revenue, off the back of a fall in both iPhone sales and handset volumes. The major positive in the numbers came from the services business, which reported a 20 per cent growth in revenue.
As the owner of HBO, CNN and Warner Brothers, a takeover of Time Warner would have an obvious boost for Apple’s content portfolio, and offered a means to bolster hardware sales.
Earlier this month, Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, formerly known as Didi Kuaidi, another sign of a developing services strategy.
Apple is thought to have a cash pile of $216 billion, meaning even a behemoth such as Time Warner, with a market capitalisation approaching $60 billion, could be easily swallowed.