According to a rumor published by TechCrunch, Google and Apple are keeping an eye on mobile payments startup BOKU, which allows users to complete online transactions by simply entering their phone number and confirming the purchase with a text from their phone. A simple and unobtrusive system that could really eliminate the need of credit cards and banks online: charges will be added to your wireless monthly bill. Boku has closed deals with carriers worldwide, including AT&T in the U.S.
Apple seems to be really committed to turning the iPhone into a digital wallet-like device you can use to buy stuff on the go and / or online, as we speculated in rumors surfaced earlier this year. Yesterday, Cult of Mac reported Apple not only wants to develop an “iWallet” based on NFC technology – they’re aiming at remote Mac controlling as well.
Could these talks be a prelude to an AdMob-style bidding war between the pair?
It’s too early to tell. But like the AdMob purchase, a potential M&A deal would involve a transaction for a nine-digit sum according to one source. We are unable to pinpoint an exact price at this stage of the negotiations, but our source says Apple, for one, could end up spending at least $250 million (and up to $450 million) to acquire BOKU.
That would be pocket change for Apple (which has $50 billion in cash), but not for BOKU or its investors. Last January, BOKU raised a large round at a valuation well north of $100 million.
With $50 billion in cash ready to be invested, a $450 million acquisition would be a great deal for Apple. [MacRumors via TechCrunch]
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