back to article Sony soars, sinks, soars on Apple buyout rumor

Just how volatile are the stock markets these days? How about this metric: Sony's stock shot up by 3 per cent on Monday on a totally unsubstantiated rumor that Apple was eyeing it as a takeover target. Sony stock then slipped back when the source of the rumor noted that he simply made it up. Then, unaccountably, Sony took off …

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  1. John Square

    If I was Jobs...

    I'd buy EMI. The capital investors who own it are desperate to jettison it, and it makes sense from an apple perspective- own the label the distribution and the devices at the end.

    He'd not need to eat into much of his cashpile to do it.

    Then? Movie studios.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      That would make sense

      I agree.

      Buying Sony would be sort of odd. Why would Apple, the self professed best technology company in the world, buy Sony, a technology company that according to Apple is not as good as itself. Sony's film and music business would be attractive, but all that technology 'baggage' (as Apple has already in effect publically implied it to be) would be an unnecessary expense when there is, as you say, EMI.

      Some of the movie studios are already owned by pretty big names - Sony (MGM), News International (20th Century Fox), General Electric (NBC/Universal), and they would be pretty big purchases even for Apple unless they strike a deal with the parent companies. I can't see those parent companies being especially charitable towards a company like Apple with $50bill to spend. Though the thought of Apple buying out General Electric does suggest the possiblility of light bulbs being renamed iLights, costing 4 times as much, being available only in white and lasting half as long. Jet engines might be rename iThrust.

      It would be interesting to know what portion of business sectors like entertainment or technology Apple can currently afford to buy. It would even more interesting to know whether that portion would attract the attention of the competition regulators. If the answer is yes with change to spare, then that change and a whole lot more should probably go straight into Apple's shareholders' pockets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good job you're not Jobs, then

      the capital investors want to jettison EMI because it's haemorrhaging cash (£1.75 bn in 2009!), artists, staff, goodwill and credibility.

      1. John Square

        Hmmmm

        Some of the reasons it is haemorraging cash is that it's poorly run, can't select the areas it wants to succeed in and doesn't have it's distribution sorted. These are things that Apple can do well.

        Also- EMI would come with the distribution rights for the Beach Boys, Band and Beatles. Are those three acts not worth the ticket of admission alone? I know a lady who was head archivist at EMI, and it was her job to look after the master tapes for EMI. There's stuff in those vaults that is worth millions and millions, but EMI can't focus to get it out and promoted in bricks and mortar stores. I cannot believe that iTunes couldn't get that stuff out and paid for.

        As for whether musicians would want to deal with Apple: Apple is part of that wave of companies (Google being another) that is the new Rocknroll. Tech is much more energising*, emancipatory and exciting for misic's traditional market of teenagers. The hours and hours of practice on a guitar isn't as appealing nowadays as fiddling with the internet.

        Also- I don't notice musicians avoiding iTunes, iPod adverts or endorsements. Apple is cool (or at least rich) enough for muso's to get along well with it. And as your average major label is both poor and fudd-duddy (by comparison) I doubt anyone would have a problem with an iContract, and preferential treatment in iTunes.

        *Yep, I'm Old. Music is all about the haircuts nowadays and it's all just noise, not like in my day etc, etc.

    3. Fibbles
      Stop

      He could but....

      ...wouldn't he then have to change the company name to avoid another lawsuit from the other Apple? IMO the Apple brand is probably worth more than EMI.

    4. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      Jobs smarter than that

      Sony buying media studios is why we say iPod instead of iWalkman. If Sony had stay focused on technology instead of media perhaps their hardware would be worth buying like in the past instead of badly overpriced drm infected crap. Sony is the king of DRM and coincidentally lately also of FAIL. Haha 3rd place in console wars, the market place has spoken.

      1. Brian 6
        Stop

        @asdf

        Sony Walkman mp3 players are cheaper better made and have much much better sound than anything from apple. They are also drag and drop, no pissing about with itunes. Pluss even the cheapest sony mp3 players are suplied with decent headphones.

      2. Carol Orlowski
        FAIL

        LOL, you actually believe that...

        Anyone still in touch with reality will know that Sony are top of their game, they make the best products that has a small additional price premium.

        The PS3 is a fine example of this, the same basic design since 2006 and still a tech leader in everything it does.

        The Walkmans sound 10x better than anything Apple have ever made, as there is no DRM to be seen, it's a drag and drop affair, you can use whatever software you like including Windows Explorer to put music on it, the PS3 is the most open and DRM-free console there is, and it uses industry standard interfaces like USB, SATA and such.

        If you want to see DRM infested crap, look no further than Apple. You might want to stop getting your information from American Sony haters on the Internet spewing FUD.

      3. MJI Silver badge
        Grenade

        3rd place - will be 2nd

        I reckon PS3 will overtake the Xbox before the generation finishes. What does the Xbox do what the PS3 cannot?

        Nothing I can see apart from Halo, but we do have the Killzone series.

        What does PS3 have?

        Sackboy, Ratchet & Clank, and of course Nathan Drake.

        <----Nate just found an Mk-NDI

        1. PoorLumpyPony

          mmmm

          Just to be clear here, I play my PS3 more than my 360, so kind of on your side (and my children play the wii).

          However Kinect is a truly different feature where as the move is essentially a hi-def wii mote and nun-chuk. If they can make that stick (very arguable at the moment, granted) I think that will push MS further ahead

          Also I think they are fairly even on the old exclusive titles (at least in terms of sales). And frankly Im not a fan of the exclusive game thing anyway, its a gain for nobody except the hardware producer.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Move works, will Natal (I hate the name Kinect)?

            We have Move and it does work well, much better than a Wiii mote (I prefered Nintendo Revolution - sounded cooler).

            I have not yet seen a Project Natal in the wild yet but it appears to be laggy, and imprecise.

            However it works well for fun games played the once - hmmmm.

            Time to see 6 months down the road.

            Remember both Nintendo and Sony turned down the chance of Natal and Sony were in that game with the Eyetoy.

            Exclusive games, Sony owned studios stick to PS3, MS to the 360, that said the best games appear to be exclusives regardless of console (but I will give the PS3 the award with Uncharted series)

  2. J 3
    Coat

    Just a second...

    I'll go buy some stocks before I let you know what I think Apple might be buying next, you know, just in case some influential idi... I mean, investor is reading this. Just a minute, be right back...

  3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    But buying Adobe would be so much fun

    After spending years bashing flash I'm sure all the Adobe share holders would launch a class action faster than Steve Jobs could say "i"

  4. Paul Coen

    Disney?

    Maybe he's going to try to merge Apple with Disney. In the end (once he's gone), it'll insure the long-term health of the combined company. I seem to recall some analysts claiming that as much as 50% of Apple's share price can be attributed to Jobs himself. He needs to spend some money to make sure that investors don't turn on the management team and company the second he's gone (one way or another).

    Merging with Disney makes Apple more like Sony (a company Jobs once admired). Apple would likely be the acquiring partner (as insane as that is), but in the end (again, after Jobs is gone), the Disney piece gives the combined company legs.

    1. Subs McNubs
      Coat

      Apple buy Disney

      ...then you would be able to say, hand on heart that MacOS has completed its transition to a fully-blown Micky Mouse OS.

      boom, boom.

  5. Greg J Preece

    Sony?

    Apple owning Sony?

    *Shudder*

    Trying to imagine an Apple-designed Playstation. I could make an awful lot of jokes about that, but I think i'll just *shudder* again.

    1. Daniel B.
      Flame

      Hm...

      It would be white and shiny, renamed as the iPlaystation or the iPippin, would lock out third-party accessories like the Xbox (PS3 currently accepts third-party stuff), the USB ports would go, and it would no longer support 1080p or Blu-Rays. Games would be censored at levels not seen since the NES/SNES heydays, and would be banned just because Jobs didn't like it.

      It would then proceed to crash and burn, like the original Pippin.

      But that isn't everything that Apple would damage ... Blu-Ray would probably disappear overnight. Um... I think I'll pass on this.

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Pippin?

      Remember it in all of its glory.

  6. Dave 52

    Re: If I was Jobs...

    What, and deal with snotty nosed musicians who would rather blow their brains out than be controlled by their label? With Steve Jobs owning the place, EMI would turn into a bigger mass suicide than Jonestown.

  7. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Adobe

    Buying Adobe, getting them to rewrite the OSX version of Photoshop in Cocoa instead of Carbon would make it so much better. They could scrap the Windows version and sell a lot of Macs to artists.

    It worked when they bought Emagic and scrapped the Windows version of Logic Audio.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      FAIL

      They could scrap the Windows version....

      ....and close the company down.

      I mean, c'mon. I know there is this myth that only Macs are good for image processing, but how many people run Photoshop on Macs, and how many on Windows?

      You, Sir, fail.

      GJC

  8. Chad H.
    WTF?

    I'm suprised this flew at all

    I mean Apple's positioning is of a premium brand. Higher percieved quality and more pleasing asthetics. to buy a "We do everything" company like Sony doesn't make a lot of sense.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Apple premium?

      What more premium than Sony?

      The only company AFAIK to make multi thousand CRT TVs which were worth the money?

      The first company to introduce a £1000 VCR.

      The company who made a £425 console which was actually worth it.

      The company who makes large expensive and very nice LCD TVs.

      A company making among the best video cameras, TVs, games consoles, PMPs among other things.

  9. David Simpson 1
    Jobs Horns

    buy bye

    Cut out the middle man and buy Foxconn.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony undervalued

    Perhaps there were people who realized that a rumor of Apple taking over Sony being taken seriously was an indicator of Sony being undervalued.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      not sure about that

      Sony hardware is pants these days. Most of Sony's value is on their media side which controls the company. The hardware side just puts out DRM infected crap more expensive than everyone else on the market.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. VeganVegan
    Joke

    Buying it to shut it down?

    If Jobs is so down on Adobe, maybe he should get Apple to buy Adobe, and shut its doors. No more flash!

    In the same vein, maybe someone should buy Microsoft and put it out of its misery.

    Icon, in case anyone uses this as basis for investment...

  12. jonathanb Silver badge

    Look at shareholder value

    What you need to look at is whether a takeover would bring additional value to shareholders over them just owning shares in both companies as in many cases they already do, and whether they can bring additional benefits to customers over them buying products from both companies as they sometimes do at present.

    Take Disney Corporation. Steve Jobs already owns quite a bit of Disney. As far as I can gather, he actually owns a higher percentage of Disney than he does of Apple. Could a combined Apple / Disney offer anything beyond the current ability to buy Disney movies on the iTunes store? I can't really think of anything, and the other movie studios might be less willing to sell their wares via a competitor's store than they currently are via an independent third party's store. That takeover could actually destroy shareholder value. Also, AOL Time Warner shows that tech and media don't always mix.

    With Sony, there are a lot of duplicate products, but is there anything to be gained by trying to combine MacBooks and Viao laptops for example. Not really as they run different operating systems so are largely targeted at different people. Steve Jobs is never going to ship a MacBook with Windows 7 installed on it, and a Viao running OSX isn't going to get any more customers beyond the current Mac customers.

    The Walkman mp3 players could vanish and nobody would really notice. Those that do currently buy them probably wouldn't go for an iPod in most cases. The Playstation could be ported over to iOS. That could probably work. Sony Ericsson phones - apparently they are still around though they don't make much of an impression on me on my visits to Carphone Warehouse.

    With the media side of things, the arguments are much the same as for Disney.

    Adobe - that could work actually. A lot of people buy their Macs to run Adobe products. Apple could make their products run better on Macs than they do at present. Then again they could create their own products or buy something cheaper and drive Adobe out of the market with a better/cheaper/better marketed product in much the same way that Adobe drove Quark out of the market. Bill Gates would certainly do the latter.

    1. Adam White

      RE: Look at shareholder value

      Not to mention Apple would no longer have any reason to hate Flash, and would pick up a decent foothold in the business software market, if they still care about such a thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      Quark!

      Everyone using QuarkXPress in the 90's was preying that Adobe's K2 project would release them from the abysmal POS that Quark 4 was in those days. The software stank, the support stank, and the price stank.

      Then Adobe released K2 (AKA InDesign 1), and we all realized that salvation would take a little longer.

      Quark could have been driven out of the market by Microsoft Publisher at that time, so no kudos to Adobe for flunking it.

      Still, the idea that Apple could buy Adobe, teach their software engineers how to do 64-bit and multi-threading properly and drop a lot of similar and confusing products from the range, could work. Dropping Windows versions could be more tricky than taking over Emagic re Logic Audio, as that was a really niche market, but as I'm a Fruit User do I give a stuff!

  13. Notorious Biggles
    Pint

    Nintendo, duh

    Nintendo are the more obvious choice.

    Consider the synergy. They both make small white electronic things. They both have raving fanboys. They both sell a lot of games, but don't really cannibalise each other's market. Then there's naming conventions - DSi easily becomes iDS and Wii could be either iWii (after a few too many of these <-- ) or iiW.

  14. Cunningly Linguistic

    Apple could always buy...

    ...Philips.

    They could then call it Apple PYE.

    Boom tish!

  15. Jon Press

    What is Apple's core business?

    EMI is haemorrhaging cash because of a highly leveraged buyout. MGM's creditors might welcome a buyer, but there's nothing much to sell (Ted Turner got most of the back catalogue some time ago). So not a good buy, unless you can shed the debts in the process.

    But getting into content might not be a bad idea if your business is essentially providing a distribution platform. And that seems to be where Apple is heading - making the devices to consume TV, music and, of course, "apps" , controlling the shop where they're bought and controlling the customer so you can market to them.

    Having access to your own content would make economic and logistical sense - though whether Apple actually need to buy another company to get into that business is another matter: there's enough cash there to start their own. And, arguably, the simple fact of Apple being interested in any company would be enough to increase the company's value beyond its real worth.

  16. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    "Da Inta-web"! Don't you just love it?

    Some bellend reckons something, a load of mindless planks with more money than sense listen, next thing your pension pot is worth even less than the f**k-all it was worth this morning!

    Living on a financial knife-edge, 2st Century style!

  17. MJI Silver badge
    WTF?

    Sony & Apple (bazza)

    Hmm so the they think they are the best hardware company in the workd buying the best hardware company in the world.

    Hmm not likely.

    It would not work - what would all the Apple haters buy?

    Am I alone in thinking Walkman still means a good portable music player (mine uses small optical discs in a case)?

    Avoid the cheap Sony products and the quality is still there

  18. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    Er...

    Apple should buy the British Governmint.

    After all, we'll sell the Americans anything ... including Gary McKinnon.

  19. Neal 5

    It's amazing how minds work.

    To be honest, just reading the headline of the story, I was wondering if Apple were the purchaser, or the purchasee.

    The first para of the story clarified the matter for me. But now I wonder, what if the parties had been reversed, would we have seen equal stock fluctuations in both companies.

    On balance, perhaps a merger would be best, obviously not the sort of rumour to enable Wall Street to make obscene amounts of money on a convoluted artificial market made by themselves, purely for their own benefit. A bit like the credit crunch, but obviously the lessons from that have been learnt and no enviroment could ever be created to cause that effect globally again.

    And a good job too, 'coz there is no money left to bail out the banks again so shortly after the last effort, that left in the region of 80% of countries on the verge of bankruptcy. I for one, would not support the bailout of GoldmanJPMorganStanleyNomuraFargo conglomerate and their associated acquaintainces, for another ride on the same failed merry-go-round, at my expense.

  20. jubtastic1
    Jobs Halo

    I have it on good authority*

    That the $50bn is being used to construct a mile long slab like construction on the dark side of the moon, aside from a single Apple logo it is devoid of any seams or details.

    * may not be true.

  21. Dexter
    Jobs Halo

    Apple?

    Surely the logical buy for Apple Computers would be Apple Records.

    Gets rid of those pesky copyright issues, and they'd be able to sell the Beatles back-catalogue on iTunes.

    You heard it here first.

  22. Identity
    Terminator

    Does no one remember

    that pre-Return of Steve, the rumors flying around about Sony buying Apple?

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