Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
The tech sector has had a split personality for the last year or so.VCs and angels have been throwing big money after startups and the young hotshot engineers who run them, and the tech IPO market has been hotter than any time since the late 1990s.
But established tech companies have been acting conservative, accumulating cash while their P/E ratios languish in the low double-digits — just above the range that “steel mills trade at before they’re going out of business” as Marc Andreessen recently quipped.
The last week’s events make these big companies look pretty smart.
If the economy goes back into recession, having a lot of cash gives these companies a backstop if their sales collapse, helps them keep spending on R&D while poorer companies fall behind, and lets them suck up suffering competitors and startups for fractions of what they were worth a few months ago.
Here are eight U.S. tech companies sitting on more than $10 billion in cash and investments.
That's actually down 3% from a year ago, as the company has been spending heavily on acquisitions -- it spent more than $6 billion in 2010 alone.
Split between $16.2 billion in cash and $12.6 billion in marketable securities. That's up a whopping 55% from its total a year ago.
That's up 17% from a year ago despite being one of the most acquisitive companies in tech.
Cisco has $6.6 billion in cash and $36.7 billion in 'investments,' which it does not break out between long- and short-term. Its total is 11% higher than a year ago.
Up 43% since last year. That doesn't include Microsoft's planned $8 billion buy of Skype, which hasn't closed yet.
Apple's hoard is split between $12.1 billion in cash, $16.3 billion in short-term marketable securities, and a massive $47.8 billion in long-term marketable securities. The company has seen incredible revenue growth and it doesn't do acquisitions, so its total cash and securities position has increased more than 66% in the last year.
Now, check out what one big hoarder has done with some of its cash: