Does Sony still have rights to Spiderman?
Yes. While Spider-Man: Homecoming was a Marvel Studios film, it was done in collaboration with Sony. Sony is making Into the Spider-Verse and Venom, seemingly as a bid to hold on to the Spider-Man film rights, which is why there is some uncertainty regarding whether or not Peter will appear in the Venom film, although I personally doubt that he will.
However, my understanding is that the rights are non-transferrable. I don't quite understand the particulars, but the short of it is that if Sony were to be acquired by another company, Sony's new parent would not inherit the film rights. Rather, it would automatically "force" the rights to revert to Marvel. In other words, if Apple were to buy Sony Entertainment, and therefore Sony Pictures, then Sony would lose Spider-Man to Marvel and Disney.
I've touched on this in this thread before, but I should say that, while I'm not certain about Apple specifically being the one to buy Sony, Sony does seem to be vulnerable.
There's not much to this yet, but I think it's worth bringing up here.
Kaz Hirai is stepping down as CEO of Sony Corporation. https://www.theverge...shida-kaz-hirai
Sony Pictures has let go three of their top executives in an effort to streamline their business operations. http://variety.com/2...ngh-1202689087/
With major shakeups like these, it begs the question of whether Sony may sell their film division to another company. Current Sony Pictures chairman and CEO, Tony Vinciquerra, believes that Sony Picture needs to get bigger, or else they may be bought out. So, while there are no actual talks of a merger at this stage, it is something I'm going to keep an eye on for this thread.
I wouldn't quite call this a potentially hostile takeover, although Vinciquerra's statement does suggest that Sony is preparing for one.
Also, for those wondering, I believe PlayStation would not be affected by this, since PlayStation is the focus of Sony Interactive Entertainment, which is a separate division from what would presumably be included in this deal.
Personally, I'm a bit surprised Apple isn't pursuing Sony Mobile, though that may be for the best. That would be a horizontal merger, and whether people consider it or not, the AT&T-Time Warner merger is still positioned to be the precedent that these potential mergers will all be based on. Apple buying Sony Mobile would be much like Disney buying 21st Century Fox's assets, running the risk of reducing competition (Though to be honest, Sony Mobile is apparently one of Sony's least profitable divisions, so I think if it were to reduce competition, the consequences would be negligible at best) whereas this is a vertical merger, and one on somewhat a smaller scale than AT&T and Time Warner. While I would say Apple and AT&T are in the same position in their respective industries, Time Warner seems "bigger" than Sony to me.
Though I will say that I'm speaking from a place of disdain towards Sony, so make of that what you will. However, while Apple buying Sony Pictures may not be too bad, buying Sony Entertainment means they would also own Sony Music as well, and I believe that is where they might face opposition.
It's a little funny, really. Years ago, I entertained the notion that Sony might buy Time Warner, or vice versa. I wasn't really sure which of the two could manage it (I believed an acquisition would have happened rather than flat-out merger), but now it's coming down to them both potentially being bought by other companies. And considering how Apple was singled out by AT&T as one of the companies that needs to be competed with, I imagine that some of the feelings from the Time Warner trial will carry over into what may happen with Sony.
I say give this a couple of weeks. That rumor hasn't gained much traction yet, and if this were to happen, it likely wouldn't be until after Kaz Hirai steps down. There has been speculation of Sony Pictures being sold for a while, with the main argument against that being that Kaz Hirai would never allow that to happen. Between Hirai stepping down and the possibility that we do have a solid name for a buyer - although Apple has already dismissed rumors that they may buy Netflix or Disney - next month is going to be interesting.
So I guess this begs a question. If Sony Entertainment (So, their movies and their music) were to be sold, would you be happy with it being Apple, or would you prefer a different buyer?