updated 11:20 pm EST, Thu January 14, 2010
Apple quietly picks up M and A staff
Apple is now much more committed to dedicated acquisitions thanks to a crucial hiring last year, a source claims tonight. The Mac maker is reported as having hired Goldman Sachs banker Adrian Perica as its first true mergers and acquisitions (M&A) employee to help find and negotiate buyouts of other companies. His influence is said by BusinessWeek to be directly responsible for a quick acquisition of Lala that took just weeks to complete rather than months.
Before him, Apple supposedly had a "super ad hoc" method that depended on executives discovering viable takeover targets by chance, getting Steve Jobs' approval, and then forming a team on the fly to negotiate the terms.
This unstructured method may have cost Apple a number of key deals, the insiders say. While Apple has long been suspected of trying to buy AdMob, the new tipsters suggest that the company was actually still in the middle of negotiations when Google intervened with its successful $750 million bid. Apple's subsequent purchase of Quattro Wireless for $275 million may have been helped by Perica's work at Apple.
The new M&A hire is thought to be spurred on both by Apple's ongoing expansion into new product categories as well as its strong financial position. In addition to breaking through its stock's all-time high in recent days, it now has $23 billion in cash, enough to let it buy many of the smaller companies that would likely be good fits. Apple has rarely acquired large firms since Jobs' return but could use its extra cash as leverage should Google or another company trigger a bidding war.
Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton has declined to comment on Apple's approach to M&A deals.