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经济学人:微软--我为"收购狂"(1)

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Business

商业板块

Microsoft

微软

Method in the madness

收购狂的章法

Why the world’s biggest software firm looks increasingly acquisitive

为什么世界上最大的软件公司看起来愈发贪得无厌

Take our cash, or at least our shares. That appears to be Microsoft’s mantra these days. After failing to acquire the American operations of TikTok, a short-video app, last year, the software giant was recently rumoured to be in takeover talks with Pinterest, a virtual pin-board, and Discord, an online-chat service. And on April 12th the firm announced that it would acquire Nuance, a speech-recognition specialist, for nearly $20bn in cash—its second-biggest acquisition ever.

要么收下现金,要么至少收下股份。这句话似乎成为微软如今的口头禅。在去年未能收购短视频应用程序TikTok的美国业务后,最近有传言称,这家软件巨头正在与线上图片社交网站Pinterest和在线聊天服务软件Discord洽谈收购的事情。4月12日,微软宣布将以近200亿美元的现金收购语音识别巨头Nuance,这也是微软自成立以来的第二大收购案。

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Even before this latest flurry Microsoft had acquired a reputation for coveting tech firms that looked as alien to its core business of selling office software as TikTok’s dance videos are to Word and Excel. Five years ago, in its biggest purchase, it paid $26bn for LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network. In 2018 it picked up GitHub, a development platform for open-source programs, for $7.5bn.“Is Satya Nadella getting bored?” wondered the Information, a website covering the tech industry. Having successfully turned Microsoft around, observers murmured, its boss might be in the grip of merger madness. In fact, there might be a method to it.

甚至在这场最新的风波之前,微软就因觊觎科技公司而声名鹊起,这些科技公司看起来与其办公软件销售的核心业务格格不入,就如同TikTok的舞蹈视频之于Word和Excel一样,八竿子都打不着。五年前,微软在最大的一笔收购案中斥资260亿美元收购了职业社交网络领英(LinkedIn)。2018年,微软以75亿美元收购了开源程序开发平台GitHub。关注科技行业的网站The Information灵魂发问:“萨蒂娅·纳德拉是太无聊了吗?”观察人士喃喃自语,微软成功扭亏为盈后,它的老板可能成了收购狂人。事实上,收购狂潮之中可能大有章法。

For starters, Microsoft’s merger activities are unexceptional by big-tech standards, says Mark Moerdler of Bernstein, a broker. The industry is rife with takeover rumours; most are probably true. Large firms talk regularly to each other about potential deals. It is safe to say that Microsoft has term sheets for many potential targets on file. It still invests far more in expanding its existing businesses than on buying new ones. Excluding the Nuance deal, the company has spent only $33bn on big acquisitions in the past four years, compared with $64bn on research and development. It has oodles of cash in the bank ($132bn at the end of last year) and a valuable currency (its share price is up by more than 600% since Mr Nadella took over in 2014). Unlike rivals such as Alphabet and Facebook, both of which face antitrust cases and have steered clear of big deals lately, Microsoft is no longer on trustbusters’ radar.

首先,经纪公司伯恩斯坦的马克·默德勒表示,按照大型科技公司的标准,微软的并购活动稀松平常。科技行业充斥着收购的谣言;但其中大多数可能都是真的。大公司之间会定期沟通潜在交易。可以肯定地说,微软对许多潜在目标都设定了收购条款清单。但微软在扩大现有业务方面的投资仍然远远超过收购新业务。刨除Nuance的收购交易,该公司过去四年在大型收购上的支出仅为330亿美元,而在研发上的支出为640亿美元。微软在银行有大笔存款(去年底为1320亿美元),还坐拥宝贵通货(自纳德拉2014年接任以来,其股价已上涨逾600%)。与Alphabet和Facebook等竞争对手不同,微软不再受到反垄断机构的关注,而Alphabet和Facebook都面临着反垄断诉讼,最近也避开了大额交易。

译文由可可原创,仅供学习交流使用,未经许可请勿转载。

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adj. 融化的;溶解的 v. 融化;溶解(melt的过

 
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vt. 买,购买
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platform ['plætfɔ:m]

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宣布的

 
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