January 2011
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Day January 24, 2011

Is Apple a candidate for acquisition?

As shown in the Apple growth scorecard, the company’s earnings growth is continuing at 75% with the top line increasing at the annual rate of 70%.

The $59 billion of cash on the balance sheet has reached the equivalent of $64 per share yielding an enterprise value of $263 per share based on closing price of January 21st.

The stock price has been rising but not outside a narrow P/E band. The following chart shows the stock price and the 15 P/E and 25 P/E bands that have bounded it for nearly three years.

How does the Mac gain share while increasing its price premium over the Windows PC?

Apple set a new record for Mac sales in the fourth quarter. This was not a surprise. The growth was perhaps a bit lower than some expected (including me) but it was still a healthy 23% and 8x the PC growth rate. The Mac has outgrown the PC (and hence has gained share) for 19 quarters straight, nearly five years.

What’s more interesting is where the growth came from. Every region outgrew the market. Asia-Pacific led with a 67% year-over-year increase, almost 10x the market. Japan grew at 56%, which is about 6x the market, and Europe and the United States both grew in double-digits despite both markets contracting overall.

Looking over a longer time frame, the Mac has nearly quadrupled in volume in five years. In the last quarter of 2005, Apple sold 1.2 million units. In the latest quarter it sold 4.1 million. So the performance has been relatively good.

One significant reason for the growth has been the shift from desktop to portables. The lines show how the percent of portables went from about 50% to 70% of units and sales in four years.