The single most accretive tech acquisition ever

Contact: Brenon Daly

With the passing of Steve Jobs earlier this week and all the deserved praise for the late Apple impresario, we can add one more tribute from the world of M&A: Jobs is the central figure in what’s probably the most accretive tech deal ever done. Remember that it was the purchase in December 1996 of the company that he founded after initially getting fired from Apple (NeXT Computer) that brought Jobs back to Apple.

So viewed that way, the once-and-future king at Apple only got to play that role because Apple acquired NeXT for some $400m. Without that deal, there’s every chance that Jobs wouldn’t have returned to Infinite Loop, and that the company would have simply continued on its path toward irrelevance in the PC Era. Instead, Job worked his magic, introducing computers, music players, phones, tablets and other products that customers may not have known they wanted but found they couldn’t live without.

To get some sense of the impact of Jobs’ return to Apple, consider this: when Apple acquired NeXT, shares of the company were in the single digits. They closed Thursday at $377. Under Jobs’ watch, shares rose almost 6,000%, giving it a current market valuation of $350bn. Apple currently enjoys the richest market cap of any company on the planet. And all that came from a deal that was part IP and part HR.