updated 12:54 pm EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Google seen as most likely buyer
Both Apple and Google have explored buying mobile payment platform Square during the past year, sources say. Rumors about an acquisition have allegedly increased in recent weeks, with Google being picked as the most likely buyer, should a deal actually happen. No offers have been made though, and people close to Square's management say the company isn't actively chasing an acquisition.
They do suggest, however, that an $8 billion pricetag would get Square's attention. That would be more than a 50 percent premium on a $5 billion valuation Square recently received, and possibly difficult to justify based on the company's business so far.
Sources said to be "familiar with his thinking" claim that Square CEO Jack Dorsey would probably be disappointed by a sale to Google, in part because he wasn't happy with acquisition talks with Google at his former company, Twitter. Dorsey is also said to feel that Square's aesthetics and values are more closely aligned with Apple than Google. Indeed, Apple and Square are already closely tied, since the Square reader saw its first retail availability at Apple Stores, and was originally iPhone-only. Square's hardware lead, Jesse Dorogusker, worked at Apple for over eight years.
Apple would presumably want Square to bolster its rumored mobile payment plans. Sources say though that the company has largely turned away from the idea of a buyout, in part because it's probably more interested in addressing online purchases first, rather than offline ones.