One of the most astounding facts in Apple’s latest earnings report is how quickly the company is adding to its cash pile. With lots of cash on its balance sheet, Apple could target some large companies. Just because Apple can afford to buy something doesn’t mean it will or that the companies themselves would be willing to sell. However, Apple could buy the sixth through tenth largest technology stocks traded in the United States. But here are a few ideas for the shopping spree Apple could go on.
-If Apple really wants to make headway in the social networking space, the company could afford to buy Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter — or all three together.
-Apple could easily control the entertainment media landscape by purchasing Hulu or Netflix, or both. Rumor has it that Hulu is currently valued at $2 billion and Netflix’s market cap is ~$4.5 billion. That’s nothing for Apple at this point.
-Why not just buy Jack Dorsey’s entire portfolio and make him an exec at Apple? Square is currently humming along at around $4 billion, according to reports. While Twitter could help Apple step up its presence in social media, Square’s technology could give Apple an advantage in the mobile payment space.
-Apple has added $29 billion to its cash pile in just the last six months, which is slightly more than Dell’s current market cap. It would be a fitting end given Michael Dell’s infamous comment in 1997 that Apple should sell the company and give the cash back to shareholders. Don’t get your hopes up though, Michael Dell. We doubt Apple would go for it.
-It’s hard to think of any two tech companies with more different operating philosophies, and even harder to envision any scenario in which Jeff Bezos would be willing to sell Amazon. However, consider all the perks Apple would gain from owning Amazon — complete domination of the tablet market as well as owning the market for digital media, oh by the way, a fleet of incredibly powerful servers.
-If Apple wanted to expand its retail business, or just put competitors out of business, it could easily afford to buy out Best Buy and Radio Shack. Best Buy’s current market cap is ~$7.7 billion and Radio Shack’s is ~$515 million. For good measure, it could throw in Target too, whose market cap is ~$38.7 billion.
So, what else could Apple do with it’s earnings? A stock buyback may be prudent, but it’s boring. And its effect is ephemeral. Imagine if Apple spent that money on a cool company. With its billions, Apple could purchase a major fraction of the members of the Fortune 500. It could buy a promising startup in the billion dollar club to infuse itself with innovation mojo. Or it could go even bigger, buying a well-established corporation with the infrastructure and the market dominance it could use as a springboard to something mind-blowingly new and exciting.
1. Educate and hire 327,000 U.S. workers.
2. Give each of the 200,000 assembly line workers at Foxconn a $550,000 raise.
3. In fact, Apple could give every man, woman and child in America about $350 – That’s almost an new iPad Mini to each person!