Find: Apple could buy the mobile phone industry

Apple could buy everyone except Samsung and still have $25b left. Course they won't. They'll turn to a new market. 

Apple could buy the mobile phone industry | Updated

The last time I did this comparison (Apple could buy the mobile phone industry | asymco) was in June after the end of the second quarter. The following chart is an updated look.


Here is a discussion of the changes since the last analysis:

  • Sony Ericsson was valued through its acquisition by Sony. We did not have a way to value the enterprise before as it was not traded independently. Last June I estimated a 14x multiple on its trailing twelve months’ profits and got $3.0 billion. Since then half the company changed hands for about €1.05 thus yielding a total company value of $2.8 billion. The enterprise value should be therefore slightly lower but I’ll stick with the current transaction value as the EV.

  • Motorola Mobility has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google for $12.5 billion by Google. The company’s enterprise value jumped as a result to about $8.6 billion.

  • RIM’s share price collapsed and it’s now also trading at an EV of about 7.3 billion (Yahoo finance).

  • Nokia’s price has also dropped and it now has an EV of about $13 billion (Yahoo finance).

  • HTC recently dropped significantly in price and is now worth about $15 billion EV. (Note that pricing of its equities is subject to suspended trading due to drop limits).

  • LG’s phone business is still losing money and it’s still difficult to value. In November it was revealed that the company was seeking to raise $890 million in capital to fund new initiatives including smartphones. The share price fell by 14%. In June I suggested a nominal value for the phone business of $10 billion. I think that’s very generous and with recent events I would place that value at $9 billion today.

  • Samsung’s fortunes have increased. In June I applied a 14x multiple to their trailing 12 months’ operating earnings. Given overall discounting of the sector I applied a multiple of 13 today. That yields a business value of $78 billion. Interestingly, that is larger than the value of all other competitors apart from Apple. That also makes it six times more valuable than Nokia.

  • Apple’s cash and cash equivalents and investments grew by about $12 billion and were worth about $82 billion as of October.
  • In summary, in June Apple’s cash was about 53% of the sum of competing phone vendor enterprise values. Today it’...