Confirming earlier rumors,
Apple Inc. (
bought Israeli flash chip-maker Anobit Technologies Ltd. on January
6. According to Bloomberg, Apple dished out $390.0 million for
Anobit, less than the rumored figure of $400.0 to $500.0 million.
However, Apple declined to disclose any further details about the
The acquisition is in line with Apple's strategy of acquiring
small start-ups, which have historically been quintessential for
its business growth. Traditionally, Apple has focused on acquiring
software-based companies. This is only the third hardware company
that Apple acquired in its history; the other two being P.A. Semi
in 2008 and Intrinsity in 2010 for $278 million and $121 million,
Other than the supply of flash storage solutions, Anobit also
offers Memory Signal Processing (
) technology, which improves the performance of flash storage
products and systems and also makes them cost effective. Apple
already uses Anobit chips in its iconic iPhone, iPad and MacBook
Air devices. Anobit also supplies flash chips to Samsung and Hynix.
Incidentally, Hynix is one of the main flash memory suppliers for
Apple's iPhone 4S.
The acquisition will enable Apple to boost the memory volume. It
is also expected to boost performance of its devices going forward.
Moreover, the MSP technology acquired by Apple is expected to
differentiate its devices from competitors such as Samsung.
Therefore, there is a possibility that Anobit will stop supplying
chips to Samsung, which would strengthen Apple's position versus
one of its key competitors in the smartphone segment.
Most importantly, we believe that the Anobit acquisition
facilitates the in-house chip procurement process for Apple, which
will significantly lower costs going forward. We note that the
demand for Apple's devices generally rise when it launches a new
upgrade and during the holiday seasons. However, it is very
difficult to estimate this sudden increase in demand. We believe
that the in-house development process will help Apple meet the
sudden surge in demand for its popular devices going forward.
We believe that the acquisition will not only provide Apple a
talented workforce but could also lay the foundation for future
research & development activities in this low-cost region.
As we believe that Apple's ability to spur the popularity of its
products in developing nations, where pricing is often an important
consideration, will go a long way toward deciding the company's
future growth, setting up local research & development
facilities will help the company to maintain its margins over the
Apple has been a leader in the technology space and has always
wooed its investors with its innovative product line. We believe
that Apple remains the biggest growth story in the tech industry
primarily attributable to its superior product pipeline, Apps,
iCloud, the upcoming iPad update, the loyal customer base and
international expansion going forward. Moreover, strong holiday
season sales will drive upside in the near term.
However, stiff competition from Samsung and
Google Inc. (
, the overcrowding in its major markets and increasing legal
complexities are the main concerns. We also believe that Apple's
secretive approach makes it very difficult to assess the company
and this lack of visibility induces us to remain on the
We maintain our Neutral recommendation over the long term (6-12
months). Currently, Apple has a Zacks #2 Rank, which implies a Buy
rating in the near term.
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