John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Has Hired an M&A Specialist? What’s Adobe’s Market Cap, Again?

“We have almost $25 billion safely in the bank and zero debt. This provides us tremendous stability and the ability to invest our way through this downturn. This is what we did during the last downturn–we increased R&D investments and created some of our best new products and businesses, like the Apple retail stores, for one. This downturn may also present some extraordinary opportunities for companies that have the cash to take advantage of them, like Apple does.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Oct. 21, 2008

AAPLMAApple made its first acquisition on March 2, 1988, with the purchase of Network Innovations. Since then, Apple has bought just 23 more companies (see table; click to enlarge), including Quattro Wireless, which it purchased for $275 million. Which isn’t all that many for a company with $23 billion in the bank (as a point of comparison, Google has acquired 11 companies in the last 18 months alone).

But that may soon change, because Cupertino finally has a dedicated acquisitions specialist, Adrian Perica. According to BusinessWeek, the former Goldman Sachs (GS) banker, who was brought in after Apple reportedly lost AdMob to Google (GOOG), is believed to have quarterbacked the company’s purchase of music site Lala in December and Quattro Wireless earlier this month.

Both were executed uncharacteristically quickly for Apple, which suggests that the company’s lackadaisical, ad hoc approach to M&A has been recast to make it, necessarily, more nimble. Said one Silicon Valley banker: “[Apple has] always gone slow on M&A, but that’s changing.”

Perhaps it’s a good time for that long-rumored merger with Adobe (ADBE). Then again, it’s probably never a good time for something like that.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle