Analysts: Apple could buy EA, Facebook, or Netflix

Apple is flush with cash. With a reported $51 billion in the bank, not to mention ever-growing profits and a market valuation second only to Exxon Mobil’s, Apple could easily acquire its way to even greater heights. As the New York Times reports, Wall Street analysts have been speculating wildly about the subject ever since Apple’s latest quarterly conference call, in which Steve Jobs talked of "one or more strategic opportunities in the future."

The speculation ranges from eyebrow-raising to downright implausible. A couple of Kaufman Brothers analysts quoted in the NYT piece say Apple might acquire Netflix or Electronic Arts to supplement its strong content distribution business. Other analysts are clinging on to the rumor that Apple could expand its chip design operations by snatching up ARM.

As icing on the speculation cake, the NYT says some even think Apple might gobble up Facebook. Believe it or not, Steve Jobs and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are said to have had dinner together recently—although maybe Zuckerberg just wanted to know where Justin Long gets his hoodies. In any case, Apple’s recent push in social networking with Ping only adds weight to the claim. (Thanks to ComputerAndVideoGames for the link.)

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    • ludi
    • 9 years ago

    With a $51 billion slush fund, I could finally afford to buy Apple products.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting no one mentioned nVidia, VIA, AMD. They could own the entire platform for their macs. Though if they did it would probably only be to make sure that intel gave them amazing breaks on their hardware.

    I don’t actually think they will do it though.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve decided that:

    “Apple could buy BP because they’ve got $51 billion in the bank.”

    (Just to mix in a little extra juicy unrelated controversy while we’re making up stories in the absense of any actual news 😛 Can’t believe no journalists thought of it already!)

    What companies does everyone else reckon Apple could buy because they’ve got $51 billion in the bank?

      • jcw122
      • 9 years ago

      You realize that BP’s market cap is over $100B, right? They couldn’t buy BP.

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    If they buy Netflix, I imagine they will force us to use a new kind of remote control where you spin a wheel to the right when you want to go up, left to go down and you have to punch yourself in the face to go left or right.

    Apple: Where Easy Stuff is Hard.

    • mph_Ragnarok
    • 9 years ago

    I heard Apple was going to buy Microsoft.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Apple could buy EA or facebook I don’t care. But don’t touch my netflix

    • Klopsik206
    • 9 years ago

    What about Adobe?
    They could kill the flash (as they wish) and push out PC from the ‘creative’ segment, pushing Mac to back to this market again.
    It would also prevent Adobe-Microsoft merge, which would be dangerous for Apple.

    • Kharnellius
    • 9 years ago

    Buy Sony…….

    • Thresher
    • 9 years ago

    None of these theories makes a bit of sense for Apple.

    Apple has been flush with cash for years now, the only purchases they have made have been in start ups or established companies that can directly benefit the hardware business. Even with the software company purchases, almost all of their purchases have been to create Mac specific apps.

    Likewise, this Sony purchase theory is nuts too. Sony is a mess. It’s product portfolio is freaking huge. There really is no direct competition between the two, at least not in the US market, since Apple owns the portable music market and Sony’s computers, while nice, aren’t a huge player in the market.

    I suspect Apple will just sit tight, spend money on R&D, make a few smaller purchases here and there, and not make any major purchases.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      I think the most realistic one is probably ARM. I imagine Apple wouldn’t mind having full control of IP they regularly could use.

      Facebook would implode if it was owned by Apple. Steve Jobs wouldn’t be able to keep himself from destroying it by micromanaging it intensely. EA has great IP, but Steve Jobs has never shown a love or interest in gaming. In fact, quite the opposite. EA is not required for Apple to invest in iOS gaming. That can be done by buying the number one developers on iTunes store. Apple already has Lala (or whatever it’s called) plus its NC streaming facilities. Whatever its plan is, it is not based around Netflix imo. Also, I doubt seriously the deals Netflix has can be transferred over to Apple if they were to buy them. This would remove a lot of the value of having Netflix on Apple platforms.

      Therefore, it is probably in Apple’s best interests to just license and allow Netflix interoperability on its platforms, along with Hulu, to have more content than just Apple by itself.

      • esterhasz
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, I fully agree. Buying a big company and absorbing it into the Apple culture is certainly less interesting than developing the company from the inside. As you said, small companies here and there, perhaps Spotify to close it down…

      I have the impression that the “Back to the Mac” strategy might go deeper than people may think and that their next step is to consolidate the Mac platform and see how the “walled garden” model and simplified UI translate into that market.

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 9 years ago

      MIPS Technologies is another possible choice.

    • curv4k
    • 9 years ago

    They should buy microsoft.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 9 years ago

      They should just buy the world instead, then all problems will be solved.

      /sarcasm

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    It seems to me that any of the companies specifically mentioned, aside from EA, would at least get a second look by regulators. Maybe Facebook wouldn’t get too much scrutiny either but then again it has a practical monopoly on social networking itself, there just isn’t any realistic competitor at all. Netflix would i[

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t see much value in buying EA or Facebook. I somewhat doubt Apple has any desire to create games in house. That’s a huge branching off that doesn’t seem to be their way, meaning they rather come up with a competing product in house instead of buying.

    Same with Facebook. Ping has come out and while I have zero use for it, it does seem Apple rather target the social side of computing slowly.

    Then there’s Netflix. Now this is something I could see Apple being interested in. Like a bit in the past this would be a move to expand a market they’re already in significantly. Apple is pushing tons of streaming/downloadable content via iTunes these days. Them swallowing up competition seems to be a regular pattern and clearly there’s no patent lawsuits at this point. So… yeah… I can totally see this move.

      • Palek
      • 9 years ago

      Only problem being that a significant portion of the Netflix infrastructure is built on Microsoft technology:
      – Website: Silverlight
      – Video: VC-1
      – Audio: WMA
      – Security: Windows Media DRM

      It would be a fairly expensive and time/resource-consuming undertaking to de-Microsoft Netflix, Which Apple would want to do right away, of course.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Don’t touch my netflix

      • khands
      • 9 years ago

      ^this, most definitely this.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        +5
        Apple buys Netflix => support for Tivo/PS3/XBOX/Roku/Etc is g-o-n-e.

        Only Apple TV, and various iGadgets would work. And I’d have to buy one.

      • Shinare
      • 9 years ago

      I will miss my netflix account if this happens.

        • uclajd
        • 9 years ago

        You’d actually give up something you like because of your hate?

        Mindless.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 9 years ago

          No I’d give it up because the price would probably tripple. Or they’d just merge netflix and i-tunes(the anti-christ of music and media management.)

          I like Apples hardware(ok, just their laptops), biggest issue I have with it is that they all use apple software!

    • cegras
    • 9 years ago

    Out of naive curiosity, should Apple or any other company be allowed to have this much money? Could corporations in American end up banking a significant amount of legal tender currently in circulation, electronic or otherwise?

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t personally think it should be allowed. With billions of people starving, and all kinds of needed investment, we need to reduce the gap between teh rich and the poor. not fill some bank vault like scrooge mcduck so some jackass can swim in his money. remember that show? scrooge was an ass. when you’re a kid you didn’t like him. now you want to be him. it’s all wrong.

        • Sahrin
        • 9 years ago

        Apple most certainly does not have a ‘money bin’ filled with cash. That’s ridiculous. They don’t even have a digital version of the same. The money is all invested, it’s not stuffed in Steve Jobs’ mattress.

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        i’m not an apple fanboi or anything, but holy crap, hate capitalism much?

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          YES. DUH

        • uclajd
        • 9 years ago

        Hopefully you are nowhere near a US voting box on November 2, thieving lefty. Keep your hands off other people’s money.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 9 years ago

          Apparently you prise money more than democracy.

            • blastdoor
            • 9 years ago

            Most Americans do. Or rather, they value the absurdly unrealistic dream of someday being rich.

            • uclajd
            • 9 years ago

            Apple, and a few other good investments have made me a lot of money, allowing this middle class guy to afford a house.

            All government has done is make housing less affordable, BTW.

            God forbid more people invested their money instead of spending it, and expecting government to bail them out.

            • uclajd
            • 9 years ago

            Apparently, to you, “democracy” means voting yourself other peoples’ money.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 9 years ago

            How sad for you that you are burdened by civilization. 🙁

            • SPOOFE
            • 9 years ago

            I see nothing undemocratic about trying to persuade people to agree with an idea or notion. I don’t think morons should vote, either.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 9 years ago

            The main trouble is writing up an idiot test that everyone agrees on.

      • Sahrin
      • 9 years ago

      What’s the downside?

      Most of the money isn’t held in cash at all, it’s in short-term investments (probably mostly 28-day t-bonds, CD’s, possibly very high grade short term commercial paper).

      Aside from being bad for investors (Apple’s ROI on cash and cash equivalents is going to be terrible with the discount rate at 0%, that drags down their return on equity for shareholders – they are in fact *losing* money relative to their profit margins on the cash they invest in operations and R&D), there’s not really a downside to it. The Apple board is just being irresponsible with their investor’s cash.

      • uclajd
      • 9 years ago

      Be allowed? Holy crap, tell me you aren’t an American. We actually believe in freedom here.

      For the record, that’s MY MONEY as an Apple shareholder.

      Man, a bunch of dumb thieving lefties on this site.

        • Chrispy_
        • 9 years ago

        l[

      • DrCR
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah! Liberty ForTheLose!

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    apple is going to buy bill gates =D

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Now we have something to talk aboutg{

    • Nutmeg
    • 9 years ago

    I heard Apple were going to buy Microsoft.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    The best thing for the world would be if Apple bought Facebook and then Steve Jobs did his, “My way or the highway” on it until it died an abrupt, horrible death.

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago

      If this happened, I would Facebook suicide immediately.

        • willmore
        • 9 years ago

        If they buy FB, yeah, I’d be gone immediately.

        I’d hang around to see what if it was Netflix.

        If they bought EA, I’d continue not to buy their crap.

        So, I guess I hope they buy EA.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    I think they should buy Micron or Sandisk and set it up as a wholly owned subsidiary run by the existing CEO who could report to Cook (but definitely not to Jobs — Jobs would have to be kept far away from that operation). They use a ton of flash, so they might as well grab the flash makers’ profit margin.

    • pdjblum
    • 9 years ago

    Apple already bought Walt Mossberg, but that only took Steve allowing Walt to think he was his friend. I’m not sure what the consideration given for Endgaget was, but I suspect it was allowing them to think that Walt Mossberg was their friend. As far as buying Tech Report, now that would cost $50 billion.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 9 years ago

    Steve Jobs does not like games, therefore Apple does not like games. He’s fine profiting from the games that other people make on the iPhone, but he wouldn’t want to run a company like EA.

    If Apple were to buy a game company they’d go after someone that makes casual games. The games that they’ve had success with are short casual games at a low price.

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    ARM makes a lot of sense for Apple. Facebook would be the worst investment since Time Warner bought AOL (or was that the other way around?).

    Or maybe they can just give some of the $50+ billion in cash BACK TO THE SHAREHOLDERS. Probably not, since Jobs holds 110% of the company and everyone else is just speculating.

      • My Johnson
      • 9 years ago

      Or a stock buyback or even go private. Or some combination thereof.

    • paulWTAMU
    • 9 years ago

    nah, TR’s consolidating with Ars, so Apple would have to buy Conde’ Nast

    :p

    reply fail 🙁

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      wouldn’t that be a funny way to come full circle.

    • Rectal Prolapse
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe Apple can buy Valve! Now THAT would strike the fear of God^H^H^HJobs in the people.

      • khands
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t think Gabe will ever sell Valve.

    • riquee
    • 9 years ago

    They should pay the Foxconn workers.

      • bdwilcox
      • 9 years ago

      Hear, hear!

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Including the families of those who accidentally fell off the top of the building.

      • Suspenders
      • 9 years ago

      Exactly this.

      • dropshadow
      • 9 years ago

      in china, prior to the suicide, foxconn paid out 200,000 RMB to the familieis of those who jumped. china actually passed a law that forbids payments to families of those who commit suicide on the job to prevent copy-cats looking to benefit families. although 200,000 RMB is roughly only 30k USD, it is quite a sum of money for most chinese families. the government would not allow apple to pay out money to those families because it would be a direct slap in the face of recently passed laws by government. the current chinese law does not require companies to pay out for suicides on the job, and only pays out 100,000 RMB for those who die on the job. workers can seek outside insurance, but it is very expensive and limited mainly to the nuevo-riche in china…

        • riquee
        • 9 years ago

        The workers still make next to nothing…

          • dropshadow
          • 9 years ago

          well it’s all relative…foxconn wages are actually decent in china. it puts workers within reach of middle class. you may think it’s nothing, but you don’t live in china…

            • Suspenders
            • 9 years ago

            The workers could make a lot more, though. That’s one of the reasons why Apple has $51 billion in the first place.

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Fantasy, invented from thin air. When does your novel come out?

            • Suspenders
            • 9 years ago

            Fantasy, sure…. by the way, ever heard of something called “producer surplus”, or are you ignorant as to where profit comes from?

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Mmm, I rather think that /[

            • Suspenders
            • 9 years ago

            Profit IS easy to define, as any accountant can tell you; sales revenue less operating expenses. Part of Apple’s profit comes by squeezing their employees salaries, namely by offshoring their production, and paying other employees less than they could afford to. It’s as simple as that, no “armchair Marxist” qualifications required.

            Also, I never said that they were forcing anyone to buy anything. However, that in and of itself dosen’t mean that they aren’t acting lousy w/r to my earlier contention.

            And sure, they aren’t /[

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 9 years ago

      Check this out.

      Apple, a USA company with all their money, should hire USA workers and pay them a REASONABLE wage to make their OVERPRICED products instead of shipping the work out overseas.

      Crazy idea.

      p.s. expecting some convoluted BS explanation that overseas labor is actually good for the American economy.

        • uclajd
        • 9 years ago

        Oh STFU. iPads would cost $3000.

        There isn’t a single cellphone made in the US, for a reason.

        Now go ruin someone else’s company.

        Love, AAPL shareholder.

          • Suspenders
          • 9 years ago

          No, they wouldn’t cost $3000. The only difference is that Apple wouldn’t be sitting on $51 billion they managed to screw out of employees and consumers. It would be a smaller but still reasonable pile of billions.

          I’m also tired of the mime that everything would be next to impossible to afford if it was made in the USA. Well guess what, nearly every consumer product in the past was made in the US, and the public could afford them just fine.

          The only reason why more consumer products aren’t made in the USA isn’t because they wouldn’t be profitable, it’s because with “free trade” (aka free money flows between countries), it would be MORE profitable to build it someplace else. If, for example, I have a million dollars to invest in a factory, why would I invest it in the States, and make 5% ROI, when I can invest it in a 3rd world country and get 10% ROI? That’s what it boils down to.

          So yeah, uh, STFU.

            • uclajd
            • 9 years ago

            “Screw”? How did Apple screw anyone? People stand in line to buy their products, all the while knowing they are more expensive.

            And Apple employees make a lot more than other retail employees. When they open a new store, Apple has to turn away hundreds of applicants.

            Apple hater lefty, go buy a Droid and enjoy your cat food in retirement on Social Security. We stockholders will be eating steak.

            • Suspenders
            • 9 years ago

            Well, for starters, Apple is sitting on $51 billion while the people actually making their products are poisining themselves by working in the plants, and committing suicide because of the lousy pay and lousy working conditions. How’s that for getting screwed? Did you happen to miss that whole episode?

            “And Apple employees make a lot more than other retail employees. When they open a new store, Apple has to turn away hundreds of applicants.”

            -I don’t know where you heard that, but last I checked Apple store wages are similar to others, definitely not “a lot more”.

            “Apple hater lefty, go buy a Droid and enjoy your cat food in retirement on Social Security. We stockholders will be eating steak.”

            -That’s it? I’d like to know what you thought about the rest of what I had to say.

      • dashbarron
      • 9 years ago

      But if they paid workers they wouldn’t be making all that money….

        • SPOOFE
        • 9 years ago

        IF they did that, it would be because they existed in a world where EVERYBODY got paid a solid wage and third-world countries (and exploitation thereof) didn’t exist, which would mean everyone would readily be able to afford even more expensive gizmos.

        O, what a fantastical and wondrous world you’ve dreamt up. Makes this “reality” thing seem kinda drab in comparison.

          • Suspenders
          • 9 years ago

          No one is forcing us to exploit anyone, or to practice labour arbitrage (which is essentially what offshoring is). The usual suspect is “globalization”, that it’s some unstoppable force of nature forcing us to slowly destroy our own economies. The fact is, though, that “globalization” could be stopped tommorow by any of the major economic players if they chose to, and it will end anyway even if they chose not to stop it. The global economic system relies on US consumers to continue borrowing to buy consumer goods produced in other countries, and obviously that can’t continue indefinitely. And what can’t continue, won’t.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    I can only hope they buy Facebook, although EA would be interesting as well.

    • Decelerate
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve even read reports that Apple might buy Sony. Damn, I want to be a highly paid analyst, seems so easy!

    Imo the only company that fits the Apple culture would be Nintendo, and I *highly* doubt Apple would purchase it.

    I doubt however Apple would buy a known (to the Joe Sixpacks) brand. It will likely just gobble up companies that will boost its own image like it did so far.

      • bdwilcox
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve heard rumors that Apple plans to buy out The Tech Report.

      Man, this speculating thing is fun.

        • StuG
        • 9 years ago

        I’ve talked to a source that can indeed confirm that there is indeed a rumor that The Tech Report is going to be bought out by Apple.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          I sold the sexual exclusivity agreement with my wife to apple. now she’s fair game!

          • SPOOFE
          • 9 years ago

          I heard a voice in my head tell me to start a rumor that Apple will be bought out by the Tech Report.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Ping makes pretty good golf clubs I’ve heard. Never had the chance to use them myself though, I’ve always taken Taylor Mades out on demo days.

    Not too sure what golfing has to with Apple though (ok, I apologize for the obviously over-used joke).

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      yah. you should apologize. everyone knows Ping is an apple trademark, and is awesome.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe you should Bing Ping?

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