As pressure from investors builds around putting up for sale HBO's parent company Time Warner, rumors are emerging that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is eyeing the company's sizable programming assets, as a way to make its entry into the SVOD market easier.
Marketwatch says that "senior tech insiders" are reporting that executives at Apple -- in particular Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services -- are keeping close tabs on the proceedings at Time Warner.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is under pressure from activist investors as well as many of its shareholders to either sell outright or spin off some of its assets, like HBO. They feel breaking up the media giant would increase its share value as much as 40 percent. HBO itself could also thrive by being set free, according to a November article in The New Yorker. "HBO looks set to thrive in a cord-cutting world; Time Warner's cable networks are more likely to struggle," the article said.
Such a sale could be a boon to Apple, which has been trying – so far without success – to put together an over-the-top streaming service featuring a skinny bundle of linear TV channels. Many of Time Warner's properties would be ideal for such a service – networks like CNN, Turner Sports, and of course HBO, Marketwatch noted.
Bewkes reportedly told investors in a closed-door meeting Monday that he is opposed to spinning off HBO, but would entertain a sale of Time Warner, according to the New York Post.
Neither Apple nor Time Warner have commented to media outlets on the reports.
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