Apple 2.0

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Asymco: Apple could buy the mobile phone industry

June 17, 2011: 10:26 AM ET

It could, in theory, acquire every cellphone vendor except Samsung with cash alone

Click to enlarge. Source: Asymco

Asymco's Horace Dediu has been tracking Apple's (AAPL) growing liquid assets and the shrinking valuations of its mobile competitors, and he estimates that they soon will cross.

Apple's third fiscal quarter closes next week, and when it does, Dediu is pretty sure that Apple will have amassed more than $70 billion in cash, cash equivalents, short-term marketable securities and long-term marketable securities. That figure, as he points out, has been growing predictably.

Meanwhile, the enterprise value of Apple's competitors has been shrinking. Four of them control 75% of the global cellphone market and have a total valuation of $66 billion:

  • Nokia $22.6b
  • RIM $13.8b
  • HTC $25.4b
  • Motorola Mobility $4.2b

The last 25% -- controlled by the cellular divisions of Sony, Samsung and LG -- are trickier to value. He takes a crack at it here. The result is the chart above.

Of course, given antitrust concerns and what happens to a company's shares when someone makes a bid for them, Dediu's thought experiment would never actually come to pass.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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