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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 212888  
Subject: Re: No tree grows to the sky Date: 11/16/2012 12:11 PM
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I'll call it 7.5 X my rough estimate of current run-rate earnings, ex-cash.

I read the Apple 10-K and noted the following regarding the cash:

As of September 29, 2012 and September 24, 2011, $82.6 billion and $54.3 billion, respectively, of the Company’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities were held by foreign subsidiaries and are generally based in U.S. dollar-denominated holdings. Amounts held by foreign subsidiaries are generally subject to U.S. income taxation on repatriation to the U.S.

So $82.6 billion of the $121.3 billion, or 68%, is "trapped" outside the United States. My understanding of the repatriation tax is that Apple would have to pay the difference between the 35% US statutory rate and whatever rate they paid to foreign governments on the earnings (which is almost always lower than the US statutory rate). So I'm not sure what the tax hit would be but it could be substantial - maybe 20% of the $82.6 billion.

The same is true of Microsoft and many other companies. And the prospect of a repatriation tax holiday seems quite remote.

I don't think this changes the valuation of Apple all that much but whenever I read about P/E ratios excluding cash I feel like there should be some way to account for the foreign holdings. Locked up foreign holdings also create some capital allocation issues ... not at Apple necessarily but we did see some of this at Microsoft when Skype was acquired using "foreign cash".
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