Apple still acquires 15-20 companies per year, Cook says no size is too large to consider

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By Mike Wuerthele

Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 02:54 pm PT (05:54 pm ET)

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed on Tuesday that his company’s ambitions as far as acquisitions continues apace, with no acquisition apparently too big or too small for the company to consider from a strategic standpoint.


When Cook was asked about a possible cash repatriation, he initially cautioned to “lets wait and see exactly what it is,” as it remains unclear as to how or when tax reform would happen under a new U.S. leadership. However, he also noted that acquisitions were a big part of Apple’s business model in the past, currently, and in the future.

“There’s not a size that we would not do, based on just the size of it,” said Cook. “It’s more of the strategic value of it.”

Cook stopped short of discussing potential avenues of acquisition for the company, saying that “we are always looking at acquisitions.” Apple has purchased between 15 and 20 companies per year, for the last four years.

Notable acquisitions in 2016 include artificial intelligence firms Turi and Tuplejump, and global music platform provider Omnifone. The company also made a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride hailing company Didi Chuxing, as well as another billion into SoftBank’s “Vision Fund” for tech business growth.

On Tuesday, Apple reported that its holiday 2016 quarter was the company’s biggest ever, soaring to new heights on sales of 78.3 million iPhones following the launch of the blockbuster iPhone 7 series, exceeding Wall Street expectations by all measures.

Apple currently has $246.1 billion on hand, with 94% of it held overseas. Five years ago, the company held $81 billion, with about two-thirds held off shore.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple typically says in response to acquisition rumors, and today’s remarks shed some light, but not much, on Apple’s strategy.

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