Would Apple actually consider buying GoPro? It seems like a ridiculous question except, as MarketWatch informs us, GoPro’s stock has actually jumped recently on speculation that the company might get bought out by Cupertino. Two analysts have recently released research notes making the case for Apple to buy GoPro and they make for interesting, although not entirely convincing, arguments.
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Here is the take of FBR & Co. analyst Dan Ives, who claims that GoPro’s product lineup would fit like a glove with Apple:
"We believe an acquisition of GoPro would make sense for Apple; action cameras are uniquely positioned at the intersection of Apple’s smartphone, wearables, and multimedia offerings. Additionally, GoPro’s new product cycles could open the door to areas where Apple’s competitors are investing heavily (e.g., drones, VR), and Cupertino has been playing catch-up. We also see strategic value in GoPro being integrated with Apple’s strong multimedia ecosystem (e.g., iTunes, Apple TV, etc.)"
There’s no doubt that many Apple competitors have been investing more heavily in drones and VR, but do drones and VR really fit into Apple’s overall product lineup? VR certainly will in some form, but it can be argued that if Apple wants to do more in the VR space, it has more attractive acquisition targets than GoPro.
Meanwhile, here’s what Northland Capital analyst Gus Richard said earlier this year in a note that also recommended Apple buy GoPro:
"More recently, rumors have surfaced that Apple considering creating its own original TV shows and movies. Clearly original content has significant value. GoPro is working with the NHL, sponsoring athletes, and is aggregating compelling content. While how GoPro monetizes its content is up in the air, it is adding unrecognized value to the franchise. Moreover, we think GoPro would be an interesting acquisition for Apple from both a hardware, software, and content prospective."
As with the Beats acquisition, the draw for Apple in Richard’s case would be for its potential to deliver compelling content online. Remember, Apple didn’t fork over big bucks for Beats because it wanted to sell overpriced headphones — instead, it wanted its music streaming service to use as a basis for what would eventually become Apple Music.
The question here, though, is whether GoPro actually offers compelling content for Apple to use for its own video streaming service that would presumably compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others. Richard himself acknowledges that we have no idea of how GoPro can monetize the content it’s producing, but it doesn’t seem like something that lends itself to paying a monthly subscription fee.
At any rate, these are both very interesting arguments although I’d put the chances of Apple actually buying GoPro to be pretty low at this point. Then again, the Beats acquisition caught everyone off guard, so anything is possible.