Not cashing out

A mere five NW200 companies are hoarding more than $109 billion in cash. That's a lot of hot dogs.

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Can too much cash be bad? On the one hand, a whopping figure in a company's cash and short-term investment column indicates strong financial health. On the other, cash hoarders often face criticism that they could be doing more with their stockpile, or that they should be more generous with their dividends. Still, what company wouldn't want to suffer this dilemma?

When it comes to members of the Network World 200, the top five holders of cash and short-term investments sit atop $109 billion. Here are some comparisons that put their cash hoards in perspective.

The most cash-rich NW200 companies . . . and spending comparisons
$109 billion Combined cash hoard of HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Motorola.
$91 billion Gross domestic product of Singapore, 2003 (Source:, which has not yet published ’04 data).
$61 billionAmount Microsoft reported in cash and short-term investments for ‘04.
$60 billionGlobal dietary supplement industry (Source: Nutrition Business Journal).
$14 billion Amount Intel and HP each reported in cash and short-term investments for ’04.
$11 billionAmount Motorola and IBM each reported in cash and short-term investments for ’04.
$7 billionTotal disaster relief funds for tsunami relief and Sept. 11, combined. ($6 billion tsunami relief promises plus $997 million spent in Sept. 11 disaster aid. Sources: United Nations and Red Cross).
$2.5 billionNet worth of Donald Trump, No. 215 on Forbes 2004 World’s Richest People.
$1.8 billionAmount Americans paid for hot dogs at super markets in 2004. (Source: National Hot Dog and Sausage Council).
$580 millionCombined price paid for the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold (by Cezanne, Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh. Source:
$94.1 millionCombined cost required to purchase 15 private islands in the Bahamas, ranging from 7 acres to 370 acres (Source:
2004 cash and short-term investments ($M)Company name 2004 revenue rank
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