By Aaron Pressman
January 16, 2019

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You’ve heard it and read it a million times. Apple has hundreds of billions of dollars in cash, so Apple should buy company X. The most common refrains over the past decade or so have been that Apple should buy Disney or Tesla. The first is probably out of reach even for Apple, with an enterprise value of almost $200 billion before tacking on a takeover premium, and the second is a money-losing machine, with a net loss through three quarters of 2018 that exceeded $1 billion. Netflix, another commonly cited potential target in this conversation, makes money on paper but burns even more cash, shelling out over $9 billion to pay for programming in the first three quarters of 2018 (explaining Tuesday’s price hike).

This week, two enterprising financial types proposed some new acquisition ideas for Tim Cook’s business dev team. As I excerpted on Monday, Barron’s writer Tae Kim says Apple should buy Nintendo. The game maker is highly profitable and in a fast-growing market where Apple currently has only indirect exposure (by nabbing a cut of game spending via the iTunes store). Nintendo’s proprietary hardware and stable of popular games seems like a fit with Apple’s world view.

And on Tuesday night, CNBC host and former hedge fund manager Jim Cramer urged Apple to buy Epic Systems, the private company that manages healthcare records for 200 million people through its deals with hospitals and doctors offices. Apple has already created a health record keeping feature for the iPhone and Cook says the sector is a top priority. Epic is 43% owned by 75-year-old founder and CEO Judy Faulkner, Cramer noted. “If she wants to retire with a bang, selling her company to Apple would be a good way to do it, especially because a deal like this one could potentially be revolutionary for the health care sector,” he says.

It would potentially be revolutionary for CEO Tim Cook and Apple to alter their strategy and make a big deal, too. But never say never.

Aaron Pressman


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