Apple Considering Buying Netflix, Once Considered Buying Time Warner Cable

Apple was once in the running for buying Time Warner Cable, but now that they have walked away from that, they are considering a buyout of Netflix. Although there never were any talks to buy Time Warner Cable that got out of the preliminary stage, Apple is actively on the market trying to buy up some media properties that could expand their own service offerings.

For those who were unaware, Time Warner Cable was recently acquired by rival cable company Charter Communications. But before that acquisition, Apple was at the table with preliminary talks to buy the nation’s second-largest cable and internet provider.

Although Apple’s talks with Time Warner Cable did not produce any fruit, the company is still actively in the market for a media content company, which is where the possibility of Apple acquiring Netflix has come into play, according to Fortune.

The truth is, there may have never been a time when Apple was serious about buying Time Warner Cable. Just consider how the report of its possible buyout has affected stock growth in just one single day. Both Time Warner Cable and Netflix stocks have grown, but Apple has remained fairly unchanged.

The talks about Apple buying Netflix also have a long history. Apple has also allowed the Netflix app to appear on its many devices now for quite some time, but you will not find apps for Amazon Prime or Vudu on Apple TV. That might also have something to do with them being a more direct competitor, though, considering they both offer pay streaming a la carte. Apple currently does not offer a streaming platform that allows for a subscription-based, video-streaming buffet. Although Netflix and Amazon Prime offer that to their customers, only Amazon makes video streaming a la carte available to their customers as well.

What is perfectly clear at this point, though, is that Apple wants to get into the media streaming business with more options. They have been trying for quite some time now to offer a cable TV bundle package on their Apple TV set top box. But they have been unsuccessful thus far with making the right kind of deals that could offer up an affordable package to their customers for their streaming-based cable TV product.

That could have also been why Apple was in talks with Time Warner Cable, so they could find some way to leverage or penetrate the pay cable TV market. But since that option has fallen through, their next bet is on acquiring a buffet-style of streaming video, and Netflix is the biggest in the market.

In terms of cash flow to acquire Netflix, there is more than enough to go around should they option for the venture. As a matter of fact, Apple actually has a $230 billion reserve at its disposal to acquire a company in the media market. So it is not hurting for capital, but rather for investments.

To help put Apple’s balance sheet in perspective, Time Warner Cable could have been acquired for around $80 billion, while Netflix is currently valued at around $43 billion. That means that Apple could have bought both companies and spent just over half of its active cash flow.

But if talks with Apple and Netflix should end up producing some fruit, then there is a good chance that subscribers could start to see some good things coming their way. One of those possibilities would be having your Netflix shows readily available on your iTunes list. That could eliminate the need for Netflix apps on your smart TVs or phones and streamline the process of watching video content on the web.

There has been no comment at this time from either Apple or Netflix on this possible deal.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]