CNN Looks At Whether Or Not Apple Is A Takeover Target

Adam Lashinsky has penned a piece examining whether or not Apple could be a takeover target. Surprisingly, we agree with a mainstream analysis of this subject. At the root of the discussion is Appleis stock price which has dipped below US$17 per share, a price that leaves Apple valued at some US$6 billion. From the article:

Considering that Apple has about $11 per share of cash on its balance sheet, itis fair to ask the question nagging at some opportunistic investors: Wouldnit someone want to buy the whole company? For just $6 per share -- about $2 billion -- plus Appleis own cash, you could own this proud company with a colorful past and promising future.

All of this is right on target, but then Mr. Lashinsky hits the nail on the head with a central fact that analysts such as Andrew Neff donit get. Apple without Steve Jobs isnit worth much of anything at all, and Steve Jobs doesnit make a good employee. From the article:

For starters, Apple is run like a quasi-private company. To its credit. CEO Jobs, the largest single shareholder, owns only 5.85 percent of the shares, according to the companyis most recent proxy statement. But he holds an effective veto on any major transaction that wouldnit be to his liking. The company dreams up nifty new products, markets to its faithful users as well as the marginal candidates for abandoning the Wintel world, and doesnit suffer too badly for being a market share also-ran.

Sure, there are people behind the scenes who make Apple tick, other than Jobs. This is no Martha Stewart Omnimedia, which also has talented pros but relies heavily Marthais creativity and visibility. But without Jobs, you simply wouldnit want to own the company. Weive seen this movie before.

Then thereis the issue of whoid want to buy it. Sony might be a candidate, but Sony wouldnit want the nightmare of integrating technologies in conflict with its own. The same argument would hold for other consumer electronics giants. Each would be concerned about killing off the golden goose. Or at least they should be. Dell or IBM? Dell especially could be a good fit, but can you see Steve working for Michael?

Mr. Lashinskyis piece was published in at both CNNis Money site, and Business 2.0, and we recommend it as a good read.

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