The 'BANK of APPLE'…Why Apple should buy Mastercard, Visa and/or American Express

I had not written much about Apple in the last few months until yesterday. Fred sent me an email with Bob’s great post and words and it got me inspired to bang out Apple thoughts all day.

It is weird that a stock with so much good news baked in and so much love from the media, blogging and analyst world could keep rising. That should not happen. But it does and could easily continue.

It is about CATALYSTS. All great trend stocks have them. There are subtle ones, big ones and multiple ones. Apple has them all.

I am no rookie though – nothing goes in a straight line forever. Today there was a $600 target slapped on the stock. All price targets are stupid and this is no different. The stock is attracting too many stupid headline grabbers and that means chasing could cause you pain right here. Money management is not something you can ignore, even with Apple.

The amount of product, distribution, PR, media and sales leverage Apple has created is astounding. It’s impossible to stay on top of it. Or so I thought. You should get used to checking in on Apple Investor news. It is and Apple Meme . It updates all the time.

Not much more can be said about the Apple stores here or anywhere. The New York Times has a great article capturing the real essence of the experience . At 203 stores and climbing just sit tight.

When the inevitable shitkicking comes in the stock (it has to no?), take a look at this chart comparing Apple and Microsoft and consider yourself lucky to get in at a 30-40 percent decline.


Apple may be expensive, but it is growing so much faster than Microsoft could hope. Apple is already at $24 billion in sales with no corporate penetration (other than execs home machines). No Europeans or Asians carry iMacs. No Halo effects yet overseas. They don’t need it yet. It’s coming though. Microsoft for all its investments and cash and monoply is at $54 billion in sales. In relative terms, give me Apple all day long as a relative trade.

Nike, Starbucks, Disney, and Old Media partnerships can’t uncool Apple. Apple’s cool leaks onto their uncoolness. More uncool media will climb aboard in 2008. The only area that they have not really attacked is Micropayments. They will likely take their sweet time, but could speed up the process with a financial acquisition. Forbes looks at the beginnings of this with Starbucks and the Patent Office .

I think Apple should buy Mastercard ($28 billion) or American Express, maybe even VISA to just speed it up for me.

The Bank of Apple has a nice ring to it. Get into banking while all the others are blowing up. Loan money to homeowners to buy homes loaded with Mac Products so you can sell them content. Set up a brokerage house to just buy Apple stock on dips…you get the drift.

Just don’t buy an airline. Too tough to cool up…just yet.

Disclosure – Long Apple


  1. Crawford says:

    Why just loan cash for homes. Buy Dwell Homes and rename it iHomes…designer homes in a box, pre-wired of course with usb connnections in every nook and cranny.

    Ahhhhhhhhh, glass staircases, mac minimal lines and angles. The mind runs wild.

    All things insane are possible. And lovely.

    What gets me to stand back in awe though is to just appreciate that the vision Jobs had in that garage ain’t all that far away from the vision we’re seeing realized today. It just took the rest of us about 30 years to see it. Very cool lesson in patience and determination. Can you say, long.

  2. Pietro Watanabe says:

    Trouble with this idea, is that it’s outside of Apple’s core competencies. There is no technological synergies between banking and Apple’s current business. Companies that become conglomerates usually become sources of mediocracy.

  3. Thomas says:

    What you ignore is that MasterCard and Visa are associations, not some large, monolithic company. They’re associations of member banks. Discover is just one bank, though.

  4. Howard Lindzon says:

    you are taking it too liuterally. I really mean this is a cash machine that can pretty much do what it wants to in the stock market

  5. Brad Webb says:

    As it sits Apple is bigger than Intel, HP *and* IBM. They also haven’t made any significant purchases in awhile — which is somewhat scary. The “we have all the smart guys” philosophy won’t/hasn’t scaled in the past, so I think regardless of what they buy, they need to buy something — if only to make sure they don’t stale.

  6. haileris says:

    Brad: My guess is that they aren’t buying anyone so that they can maintain their psychotic internal culture (imagine cutthroat management style combined with artsy fartsy underlings, with a huge dose of collective narcissism). I’d go further and argue that any buyouts from true silicon valley genius companies don’t work.

    It’s not a issue of scale, but rather an issue of market segments. Apple, Google, et al. are able to scale just fine, but Apple has proven the most that they can enter new markets. I’m at a loss for companies that Apple can buy out.

    Howard: Watch Amazon’s Flexible Payment Service. As Paypal has shown, payments are one step away from pseudo-banks.

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