Last night, the Internet was set ablaze by the news that Facebook was taking more money at a valuation of a cool $50 billion. That’s massive. But it’s actually only 1/6th of the value of another closely-watched company in the tech space: Apple.
Apple, obviously, had a very impressive 2010. A year ago, they were the fifth most valuable public company at “only” a $213 billion market cap. At the time, they were still over $40 billion behind rival Microsoft in the tech space. That changed in May when Apple zoomed ahead for the first time since the early days of the companies. Since then, Apple has padded their lead, and they’re now $60 billion ahead of Microsoft — now the second most valuable tech company.
So can Apple take the top spot? Well barring any (god forbid) sort of oil incident, it would take at least as good of a year as they had this year — and maybe better. Exxon is currently valued at $375 billion. Their stock has surged over the past 6 months adding something like $100 billion to their market cap.
At the current volume, Apple’s stock would need to be trading at about $410-a-share for them to pass Exxon. The stock is currently at just under $330-a-share. But a year ago it was around $210-a-share, so another killer year could do it. But again, Exxon’s stock shows no sign of slowing down either. So it may take Apple at $500-a-share to do the trick. That’s probably too tall of an order for this year, even with the iPad 2 and Verizon iPhone on the horizon.
Shifting back to Facebook, obviously it’s not fair to compare a private with a public one. But it is interesting to see their assumed value in the perspective of their tech peers. At $50 billion, Facebook is already worth more than Yahoo and eBay, both of which are public. They’re behind Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. But if and when it’s determined that they should IPO (or if that’s determined for them by the SEC), that value should change quickly.
Of course, Facebook’s revenues for 2010 are expected (at the high end) to be around $2 billion. For some perspective, Apple’s revenues were $20 billion just last quarter. They’ll be even higher for the quarter closing in a few days. Apple could be approaching $100 billion in revenue each year, up from $50 billion (again, Facebook’s overall value) a year ago.
For some better perspective, as of last quarter, Apple had $51 billion in cash (and cash equivalents) in the bank.