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Apple has bought around two dozen companies in the past 6 months, Tim Cook says

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 5/7/2019 Mike Murphy
Tim Cook wearing a suit and tie: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in New York City in October 2018. © Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in New York City in October 2018.

They don’t always make headlines, but Apple Inc. has been snapping up companies at a rapid pace recently.

Chief Executive Tim Cook told CNBC in a weekend interview from Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (BRK) annual meeting that the tech giant has bought between 20 and 25 companies in the past six months.

“If we have money left over, we look to see what else we [can] do,” Cook told CNBC. “We acquire everything that we need that can fit and has a strategic purpose to it. And so we acquire a company, on average, every two to three weeks.”

By comparison, Apple reportedly acquired 18 companies in 2018.

Apple (AAPL)  rarely announces or confirms its acquisitions, aside from a blanket statement that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Its most high-profile acquisitions in recent years include Beats in 2014 — at $3 billion, the largest purchase in Apple’s history — automation app Workflow in 2017 and magazine app Texture in 2018.

Apple can certainly afford to buy a company here and there — it has about a $113 billion net-cash balance, according to its quarterly earnings report, released last week.

Apple shares are up 32% year to date, compared to a 13% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial (DJIA)  of which it is a component.


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