With Apple’s cash pile reaching into the stratosphere, people who buy and sell companies for a living think they know just how Apple should use that money.
Any guesses? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Okay, the answer is…use it to buy some companies!
Thus far, Apple’s acquisition strategy has been pretty subdued, except for spending $3 billion on Beats a couple of years back. Otherwise, investment bankers have been pretty bummed out that the Kings of Cupertino have not gone on an acquisition bender.
Still, Apple just reported that it now has $250 billion sitting in a bank, most of it overseas, of course. But if talk of a repatriation holiday comes true, and Apple brings some of those bucks home…A banker can dream, can’t they?
Imaging how such an event would play out, Citigroup analysts drew up a list of odds-on favorites for an Apple purchase. Excerpts from the note that were published online by The Fly say the following list was generated by Citigroup analysts in a note entitled: “Addressing the Problem of Too Much Cash.” (Because is there anything worse than having too much cash?)
At the top of the list: Netflix, with a 40 percent probability of being acquired by Apple. Disney was next, at 25 percent. The other five were at 10 percent or lower:
- Electronics Arts
- Activision Blizzard
- Take-Two Interactive
Personally, I would put the odds at all of these at somewhere around zero. Were Apple to attempt to swallow companies of these size and scale, it would likely lose control over its more precious asset: its culture. Integration in any of these cases would likely be a nightmare and a huge distraction.
Further, it would be a tacit admission that Apple’s core businesses have run their course.
Still, it’s fun to speculate over the drama-fueled potential of Elon Musk learning to submit to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Or Netflix CEO Reed Hastings learning to accept being told what to do and when to do it.