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Huge Cash Hoard Overseas Expected

By David Faber, CNBC Anchor and Reporter

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- A report Tuesday from accounting analysts at JP Morgan (JPM) seems to put a reliable number on the amount of cash that U.S. corporations hold in their foreign subsidiaries, and it's a doozy.

Of the 880 companies that JP Morgan reviewed (using thousands of 10(k)s from the past eight years), it found 519 companies have a collective $1.375 trillion in undistributed foreign earnings.

That number now seems destined to find its way into the ongoing debate about whether a "tax holiday" should be declared for those corporations that choose to bring some of the cash back to our shores and use it to create jobs.
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The JP Morgan researchers weigh in on the subject of repatriation and conclude that even in the unlikely event such a tax holiday is created -- it's opposed by the Obama administration -- while there is a House bill on the matter, there is no companion legislation in the Senate -- it would not result in a flood of repatriation. This is largely because much of the over $1 trillion worth of undistributed earnings overseas will likely be reinvested across the pond.

For example, General Electric (GE), a part owner of CNBC, only repatriated $1.2 billion of an estimated $37 billion it held overseas the last time such a tax advantaged repatriation was available, in 2005.

Now, GE finds itself with $94 billion overseas, the largest single sum for a U.S. corporation, and the report's authors assume that given the low percentage of past repatriation, most of that money would remain overseas.

-- Written by David Faber of CNBC
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