As firms bring back cash to the U.S., some see a fresh wave of mergers

In late 2015, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook was asked why the technology giant continued to leave a mountain of cash overseas rather than return it to the United States.

“I’d love to bring it home,” Cook said of the cash hoard, which now totals a staggering $265 billion, in an interview aired on “60 Minutes.” But, he added, “it would cost me 40% [in federal and state taxes] and I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to do.”

Now, with the new U.S. tax law providing a much lower cost for cash repatriation, Cook and the managements of many other U.S. multinational companies are expected to bring home a sizable chunk of the $1.4 trillion that Moody’s Investors Service estimates is held offshore by nonfinancial U.S. companies.

The others include fellow tech giants Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Oracle Corp.; drugmakers Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co.; the biotech company Amgen Inc.; and industrial giant General Electric Co.

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