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Friday, June 17, 2011, 09:55 am PT (12:55 pm ET)

With more than $70B in cash, Apple could buy Nokia, RIM, HTC & Motorola

Apple's cash is expected to top $70 billion at the conclusion of its current fiscal quarter, a sum so massive it could buy out rivals Nokia, Research in Motion, HTC and Motorola Mobility, according to a new analysis.

Collectively, the enterprise values of the four companies that make up 75 percent of all phones sold are $66 billion. And as noted by Horace Dediu in an analysis for Asymco, Apple is likely to have $70 billion in cash when its quarter ends at the end of the month.

The major players left out of the list of four are Sony Ericsson, which has an estimated worth of $3.0 billion, and Samsung, valued at $53 billion. LG's phone business, which has not been profitable the last four quarters, was given a value of $10 billion.

"As market values of phone vendors continue to decline, Apple's cash will continue to grow dramatically," Dediu wrote. "indeed, a time may soon come when Apple's cash will be worth more than the entire phone industry."

In fact, at their current valuations, Apple could acquire every mobile phone vendor with cash alone, except for Samsung.

Apple's growing war chest stems from the fact that the Cupertino, Calif., company is by far the most profitable in both the PC and phone hardware markets. In fact, Apple overtook the market leader, Nokia, in terms of profit in the smartphone business in late 2009, just over two years after the company entered the market with the iPhone.

Cash


That lead has steadily grown, with an analysis from Dediu in February showing that Apple's lead over the top mobile phone vendors continues to widen. Since the iPhone appeared, Nokia's profits dropped from an industry-leading $3.5 billion per quarter to $1.3 billion or less.

In the last quarter alone, Apple sold 18.65 million iPhones, a record for the company, with sales growing 113 percent year over year. And even with what was said this January to be a 4 percent share of total mobile phone units sold, Apple takes in more than half of the mobile industry's profits.