Apple May Have Approached Blackstone’s Tosi About CFO Role

Bloomberg News is reporting that Apple (AAPL) has reached out to Blackstone’s (BX) Laurence Tosi about taking the same role at Apple. Tosi, who before joining Blackstone in ’08, was the Chief Operating Officer for the Global Markets and Investment Banking Group of Merrill Lynch & Co., is said to have turned down the job, preferring to remain at Blackstone.

More from Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. approached Blackstone Group LP Chief Financial Officer Laurence Tosi to become its finance chief, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Tosi told Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman that he plans to stay, rather than join Apple, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, said the company is “not conducting a CFO search.” Current CFO Peter Oppenheimer “loves the company and is extremely happy in his role,” Dowling said.

A change in Apple’s CFO post would be the first since 2004, when Jobs, 55, appointed Oppenheimer, now 48, to replace Fred Anderson, who later co-founded private equity firm Elevation Partners. Since then, the Cupertino, California-based company has become the world’s second-largest company by market value as its stock has surged more than 20-fold. None of the 55 Apple analysts tracked by Bloomberg rate the shares “sell.”

Oppenheimer has been with Apple since 1996.

Christine Anderson, a spokeswoman for New York-based Blackstone, declined to comment.

Apple’s holdings of cash and short-term investments climbed to $25.6 billion as of Sept. 30 from $15.4 billion three years earlier. Investors and analysts including Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. have called on Apple to return some of its cash to investors in the form of a buyback or dividend.

In October, Jobs said that the company has a good track record of using its cash and is reserving it for one or more “strategic opportunities.”

Tosi, 42, would have brought Apple more experience with corporate acquisitions. Blackstone made more than 30 acquisitions last year, according to Bloomberg data. Apple made four, the data show. Tosi previously worked for Merrill Lynch & Co. and the business channel CNBC. He’s been Blackstone’s CFO since September 2008.

Apple rose 1 cent to $334.04 1:51 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares rose 53 percent last year.

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