Wild rumor of Apple buying Sony triggers share spike

Sony’s share value surged by as much as three percent in Japan on Tuesday after a rumor that Apple was considering it a buyout target. The rush was triggered by speculation by Barrons that the company’s $51 billion in cash might be used to buy a major company, with Sony as just one of the targets. Original author Eric Savitz has since said it was "pure speculation" and was likely taken too seriously by Japanese investors.

Apple chief Steve Jobs had defended the company’s refusals so far to offer share dividends to investors as a deliberate decision to "keep our powder dry" and open the door to major acquisitions, but the company has so far given no clues as to possible targets, if any. Acquiring Sony would likely be impractical as it would force Apple to suddenly either support or kill off home theater, personal audio, Windows PCs and many other industries in which it doesn’t have an interest. Such moves could also trigger concerns from Japanese regulators about a foreign acquisition of one of its most important economic contributors.

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