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With Departure of Jobs, Will Apple Warm to Deal-Making?

Michael J. De La Merced|The New York Times
Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 | 10:17 AM ET

As Steven P. Jobs steps downas chief executive of Apple, the iPhone maker will lose the leader who rescued it from near-death and built it into a technology colossus.

Steve Jobs
Getty Images
Steve Jobs

But among his many roles — visionary force behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad; brilliant but ruthlessly efficient manager — one Mr. Jobs did not occupy was deal maker.

Since his return in 1997, after Apple’s purchase of NeXT Inc., the company has acquired just 18 companies, according to data from Capital IQ.

His biggest deal ever was not even at Apple; it was orchestrating Pixar’s $7.4 billion sale to the Walt Disney, which also made him Disney’s biggest individual shareholder.

Apple’s most notable deals in recent years, including its acquisitions of the chip makers PA Semi and Intrinsity, have been relatively small. Its deal for the mobile ad company Quattro Wireless was said to be worth about $300 million.

More recently, Apple was part of the group that successfully bid $4.5 billionfor Nortel Network’s portfolio of patents. Apple is said to be interested in a number of other targets, including the online video company Hulu and the patent portfolio of Interdigital.

And with a $76.1 billion war chest as of late June, some have noted that Apple has enough financial firepower to buy Bank of America.

But Apple’s new chief executive, Tim Cook, has already had a hand in the company’s deal strategy, and all signs indicate that he is unlikely to change course.

Mr. Jobs, in any case, will remain chairman. His resignation was announced after the close of the stock market. In after-hours trading, shares of Apple fell as much as 7 percent.

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