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Why Wasn't Apple in the Mix for Nest?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Google (GOOG) acquisition of Nest Labs for $3.2 billion announced Monday is being interpreted in a number of ways this morning:

  • That "Larry Page's Google" is one of action
  • That the entire "Internet of things" space is now validated
  • That this is a lot of money, which makes it important
  • That Google is going to know even more about you
  • That Apple (AAPL) "missed out," which suggests that Tim Cook is neither a man of action nor vision and that Apple is "slower" in comparison to Google

If you believe that Nest is an important company -- and it certainly appears to have momentum in the consumer home automation space with increased use of its products -- then the question is, why wasn't Apple "in the mix" to buy it, as Liz Gannes wondered?

If Tony Fadell sold his company to Google without talking to other serious suitors, then he wasn't serving the best interests of his shareholders. Wouldn't it at least be worth Tony's or Frank Quattrone's (or whoever Tony used as an intermediary) time to beat the bushes and figure out if there were other interested parties? Wouldn't $3.8 billion or $4.3 billion have been a better price than $3.2 billion?

If you assume Fadell did his fiduciary duty by shopping his company to others, then why would Apple not be in the mix?

Some might say, "Well, Google must have made a high offer that was too good to pass up." Of course, $3.2 billion is a huge return for all of Nest's investors. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Kleiner Perkins saw its investment increase "twenty-fold."

But, again, any Nest investor is going to want more. I'm sure they were all excited to hear about the Google offer, but it would have taken them about two seconds for them to inquire about competing bids.

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