Apple Speculation Is Getting Frothy

Speculation stories are fun, especially when they involve a high-profile company. We have a stellar example this week.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

It began Saturday in Barron's, which ran a piece suggesting that Apple was contemplating a big takeover and threw out the names Adobe, Sony and Disney.

The Financial Times followed on Monday, running a piece also speculating about possible takeover targets for Apple. It added the names Facebook, Nvidia and Akamai to the mix. And Barron's revisited the subject kicking in Unysis for good measure.

Today here comes the WSJ Deal Journal blog, raising the possibility suggests the possibility of Apple buying Netflix.

All these items are long on conjecture and short on primary sources. But that's the beauty of these kinds of "what if" pieces...a reporter just has to gossip with a few traders and float a few names. And the more well-known the companies, the better. (Indeed, the FT piece also suggested Arm Holdings as a takeover target. But that chip designer isn't quite as well known as the other candidates, so there's less chatter about it).

As they should, all these pieces also throw in various caveats and counterpoints to the speculation targets. Sure, there's some logic to some (Arm), but others are pretty fanciful (Facebook?). Most, if not all, are likely to be wrong.

Of course all this is Steve Jobs' fault, since he jumped on last week's earnings conference call and pointed out Apple has a $50 billion pile of cash, which could be handy since "there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future." (Of course he also said Apple is disciplined with its cash and "we don't allow it to motivate us to do stupid acquisitions." But where's the fun in that?)

Nevertheless, Jobs' words have caused a speculation swirl that's managed to snare some of the hottest names in the tech sector: Not just Apple , but heavyweights Disney and Sony as well as Facebook, Netflix , Nvidia , Adobe , Akamai and Unysis . Oh yeah, and Arm Holdings .

Nice fodder for the headlines. And I imagine some traders are making pretty good hay out of it too.