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How Apple's 2015 negotiations for Time Warner bundling deal briefly led to acquisition talks

Mount Equity Group Tokyo, Japan > News > Tech > How Apple's 2015 negotiations for Time Warner bundling deal briefly led to acquisition talks

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AAPLApple CEO, Tim Cook waves as he opens the door of the newly renovated Apple Store at Fifth Avenue on September 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)KENA BETANCUR | AFP | Getty Images

As AT&T and Discovery discussed putting together their content assets, they specifically structured a deal to give the combined company flexibility to merge or sell down the road — perhaps to Apple.

Apple is one of the few companies that has the balance sheet to buy WarnerMedia-Discovery, a company that will likely have a market capitalization of more than $100 billion when it begins trading publicly next year, assuming regulatory approval.

But it’s not clear whether Apple has any interest in a major media acquisition. The company’s history suggests Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook would shy away from a huge deal. Apple’s biggest deal ever was a mere $3 billion — for headphones maker Beats Electronics in 2014. To put that in perspective, Apple has a market valuation of more than $2.1 trillion.

Apple’s growing market power is also under increasing scrutiny by regulators and has been the subject of a recently concluded court