Apple Readies HomePod Amid Speculation About Big Acquisitions
For years, Apple has been reluctant to return the billions of dollars it had stashed overseas and spend it in the U.S. because of the inevitable tax hit. But now everything has changed.
Apple this week confirmed that it will repatriate its nearly quarter-trillion-dollar cash hoard and pay $38 billion in taxes on it. The move will free up the remaining sum to be used for investment in the U.S. But some market watchers believe Apple will use a large portion of the cash on an acquisition (or two).
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Meanwhile, Apple confirmed that it’s planning to open a second campus in the U.S. at some point and it appears to be nearing the release of its long-awaited HomePod smart speaker.
Overall, it’s been a busy week of speculation about Apple. And we’ll look at all of that in this week’s roundup.
- Apple announced this week plans to repatriate nearly $250 billion in cash from overseas to the U.S. The move will free up that cash, minus taxes, to be used how the company sees fit. Apple said that it will initially invest $30 billion of it in “capital expenditures” over the next five years. The company will also hire 20,000 new workers over that period.
- Although Apple didn’t say whether it would make acquisitions this year, longtime company watcher Gene Munster believes it will. In an interview with news site Business Insider, Munster said he thinks Apple will make acquisitions amounting to $5 billion or less. The two companies at the top of Apple’s wishlist, according to Munster: Augmented reality headset maker Magic Leap and luxury fitness company Peloton.
- In its announcement on repatriating cash, Apple said that it plans to announce a location for a second campus later this year. Apple didn’t say how it would choose its second campus, but speculation has already begun.
- Apple suppliers have already shipped 1 million HomePods in preparation for the smart speaker’s release within the next four to six weeks, according to a report this week. Apple had planned to release the HomePod in December, but it delayed it in November, saying it needed more time. A report this week said Apple’s HomePod software wasn’t working well enough, leading the company to delay the device’s release.
- Apple this week said that it will release a fix to a security flaw affecting its Messages text-messaging app. When iPhone or Mac users receive a specific “chaiOS” link, the device will crash, even if the person doesn’t click on the link. The bug doesn’t cause any irreparable harm, but it is annoying. Apple said that it would release a fix next week.
- In the coming months, Apple could give employees $2,500 in restricted stock units. The stock would vest at a later date, CEO Tim Cook confirmed in an ABC News interview. The move would be funded by the cash windfall Apple will receive when it repatriates its cash.
One more thing…There’s a lot of cash talk this week. But why is it happening now? Fortune‘s Adam Lashinsky sounds off—and wonders whether President Donald Trump should get his “fair share of credit” for it.