Is Apple plotting acquisition of Sony?

26 Oct 2010

With its US$51bn warchest, rumours that Apple is plotting the acquisition of Japanese technology giant Sony have been gaining pace. But would it be a bridge too far for Apple?

Sony’s stock jumped 3pc on the foot of rumours fuelled by a report at the weekend by Barron’s that suggested Apple could buy Sony.

Other targets suggested include Adobe, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Netflix and Disney.

It has been suggested that such an acquisition would be deemed a hostile takeover and the acquisition of Sony may not be well received in Japan.

Also fanning the flames of rumour was an interview carried out with former Apple CEO John Sculley, who revealed how fascinated Steve Jobs was by Sony in terms of its products and its manufacturing processes.

Sculley said that if there was a company Jobs would acquire it would be Sony rather than Microsoft.

Sculley also recalled how Jobs – when presented with a Walkman for the first time by Sony co-founder Akio Morita – was amazed and immediately took it apart to study it.

So far, Apple has used its cash for small strategic purchases, like Placebase, Poly9 and Quattro Wireless, and when asked about the US$51bn warchest last week, Jobs said it could fund one or two further acquisitions.

In related news, Apple’s hardware boss Bob Mansfield realised US$10.8m when he sold 40,000 shares of Apple stock for US$308 a share. Another executive, corporate controller Rafael Betsy sold 7,135 shares for US$313.18 a share and raised US$2.2m.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years