General Electric had the opportunity to acquire Apple for $2 billion


When deciding not to acquire a company, there’s always the possibility that you’ll come to regret it in the future, such as when Blockbuster decided not to acquire Netflix back in 2000, or when Samsung decided not to acquire Android back in 2004. To be fair, had either of those acquisitions gone through, there’s no guarantee that Netflix or Android would be as successful as they are today, but I’m sure Blockbuster and Samsung are regretting their decisions either way. And if you think that’s bad, General Electric actually had the opportunity to acquire Apple for a mere $2 billion back in 1996.

Jack Welch — the former General Electric boss who bought and sold hundreds of companies and laid off thousands of workers in his relentless pursuit of growth — passed on buying Apple for a paltry $2 billion, a former top lieutenant reveals in a new corporate tell-all. Michael Spindler, the Apple chief executive at the time, was practically begging GE to buy the then-struggling computer company in 1996, according to Bob Wright, the long-serving head of NBC­Universal, then owned by GE. “The stock price was $20, and [Spindler] was explaining he couldn’t get the company moving fast enough and the analysts were on his case,” Wright told The Post in an interview on Tuesday. “He was sweating like mad and everybody said, ‘We can’t manage technology like that.’ We had a chance to buy it for $2 billion.” Apple, which was revived with the return of late co-founder Steve Jobs, boasts a value of $607 billion as of Wednesday’s close. GE’s showing of $296 billion is less than half that. While there is scant evidence that an old-school industrial conglomerate like GE could have turned around a faltering tech company like Apple, that doesn’t deter Wright from taking shots at Welch in his new 464-page memoir, “The Wright Stuff.”

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