Apple has enough cash to buy most of the world’s biggest companies, with change to spare

But it still has some saving up to do before it can buy Google or Facebook

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 28 January 2015 12:54
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Apple’s record-breaking profits, announced last night, have given it even more cash. It now holds $178 billion to spend — enough to buy most of the world’s biggest companies and many of its competitors.

The company now has more cash than the market value of some of its biggest competitors and peers, including Intel and Amazon. Intel is valued at $173.1 billion, and Amazon is worth $143.4 billion.

At their current valuations, Apple could even buy all of Uber, Tesla, Twitter, Netflix, Dropbox, Snapchat, Airbnb and SpaceX, and still have $20 billion left over, Extreme Networks chief marketing officer Vala Afshar pointed out in a tweet last night.

Some of its biggest competitors still remain out of reach. Google, for example, is worth $352 billion and Facebook is worth $211 billion. (Apple itself is valued at $635 billion.)

But Apple probably doesn’t want to buy those companies, anyway. It has been mostly quiet about putting its cash to work.

It’s continued to buy things — music analytics firm Semetric earlier this month, digital magazine firm Prss in September — but they tend to be smaller companies that fit naturally into existing businesses, rather than whole new ventures.

The big potential exception to that was Beats, which Apple bought for $3 billion in August. It was perhaps the first time that Apple has bought a large brand, rather than a piece of technology, and Apple hasn’t said publicly what it plans to do with the headphones and streaming music firm.

Much of Apple’s cash is thought to be spread across the world, hiding out in places that keep the company’s tax bills low. But that also means that it would probably be hit by a big charge if it moved the money back so that it could spend it — which is why the company has over the last year taken out huge debt despite having so much money in its pockets.

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