Oh, Citigroup. Always trying to run with the cool kids. Always looking ridiculous in the process. The latest plotline in this long-running sitcom involves Citi trying to have something relevant to say about those hip tech companies that everyone else is talking about so knowingly. Unfortunately, analyst Jim Suva begins with a questionable premise and it all goes downhill from there.
"Since one of the new administration's top priorities is to allow US companies to repatriate overseas cash at a lower tax rate, Apple may have a more acute need to put this cash to use," Suva said.
Indeed, it’s such a high priority that it accounted for precisely zero of the 170 words outlining President Trump’s tax plan. But let’s assume that when the adults get around to hammering out an actual piece of legislation and tax code, they’ll slip that 10% repatriation tax that Suva’s talking about in there, and let’s make the further (and even less likely) assumption that the whole thing becomes the law of the land, and that it induces Tim Cook to bring some of his $250 billion home. Whatever should he do with it?
Well, Suva said, he could do some buybacks. That would probably make people happy. But, you know, $250 billion is a lot of money, especially after special one-time-only tax deals. So he’s probably going to have to buy something other than his own shares. And through his great-grandchildren or whatever, Suva’s heard of these cool companies called “Netflix” and “Tesla.” One lets you watch movies on your TV without even going to Blockbuster—or having a VCR at all!—and the other is building flying cars or some such, and people really think it’s gonna turn a profit one day, or become a unified world government, and that sounds like a can’t-miss play. Here are some other “tech” companies Suva has heard something of that can be had for $220 billion or less:
The other potential acquisition targets include video game developers Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive Software as well as video streaming service Hulu.
Suva doesn’t know what all of that means but it sure does sound exciting. If, however, that kind of fast-paced, edgy thing doesn’t appeal to Apple, there is a safer option, presumably one Suva’s loved since his childhood: The Walt Disney Co.