Apple has mind-boggling $178 billion in cash to spend

5 Stunning Apple Stats

Forget about a simple little hole. Apple CEO Tim Cook has a gaping chasm burning in his pocket.

Apple now has $178 billion in cash. Sure, a big chunk of that is held overseas and a large amount of it is technically considered "marketable securities," but those can be turned into cash quickly.

So what will Apple (AAPL, Tech30) do with it? Probably continue to spend on research and development, share buybacks, dividends and maybe some small acquisitions.

In other words, pretty routine stuff.

Related: Apple just posted the best quarter in corporate history

But what if Apple wanted to do something really bold with all that iMoney? Just for fun, here's a list of companies Apple could buy ... and still have some change left over.

apple shopping list

  • Disney: Apple and The House of Mouse have been partners for years. So why not make it official? Disney's (DIS) current market value is $160 billion. The iPhone could be the official smartphone of Marvel's Avengers! Apple could design the latest light sabers for the next Star Wars movies, and a deal could help Apple in the digital content wars. Unless ...
  • Amazon and Netflix: Apple could corner the market on streaming video by purchasing both Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Netflix (NFLX, Tech30). Amazon's market cap is $142.7 billion and Netflix is valued at a "mere" $27.1 billion. And maybe Apple would spin-off that whole money-losing e-commerce site Amazon runs.
  • IBM: Big Blue has fallen on hard times lately. IBM (IBM, Tech30) is now worth $152 billion. But it is selling iPads to corporate customers. Why does Apple need a middleman? Plus, a marriage of IBM's Watson and Apple's Siri would be so cute. Nothing like artificial intelligence romance!
  • Uber and Tesla: Rumors of an iCar pop up every now and then. So why not buy Tesla (TSLA) and Uber and issue Model S vehicles to all Uber drivers? Tesla's market value is $25 billion. Uber recently completed a round of financing that put a $40 billion price tag on it. Apple should strike fast though. At this rate, Uber will be worth more than $178 billion before you know it! #sarcasm

Those are just a few ways Cook could get rid of that cash.

He could also buy either Visa (V) or MasterCard (MA) (not even Apple could afford both) to help its Apple Pay service. Apple could scoop up Bank of America (BAC) as well for that matter.

If Apple needs more companies to help produce its upcoming wearable wrist device, Apple could buy all four popular watch makers LVMH (LVMHF), Swatch (SWGAY), Fossil (FOSL) and Movado (MOV).

Related: 74.5 million iPhones is equivalent to ...

Sadly, Apple can't boost its social networking presence by purchasing Facebook (FB, Tech30) (market cap: $213 billion) yet.

But it could buy Twitter (TWTR, Tech30), LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30), Snapchat and Pinterest. That would only cost Apple about $66 billion for all of them.

These deals are all based on current market prices and do not assume any premiums. But I'm hoping you haven't made it this far under the impression that these are serious suggestions for Cook and Apple.

Still, one market analyst has a thought for how Apple could use that money.

Howard Silverblatt of Standard & Poor's joked in a report that Apple could give all 320 million Americans $556 each.

That's almost as much as what families are saving on gas thanks to plunging oil prices. If Apple called it the Tim Cook rebate, he might be able to be elected president.

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