Apple is arguably the most famous company in the world, but its top dealmaker prefers to stay in the shadows. Adrian Perica, a former Goldman Sachs banker, sometimes holds meetings with executives of companies he’s interested in buying at an unmarked building adjacent to Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters, according to two people who have negotiated with Apple. Such precautions are warranted: A February report in the San Francisco Chronicle that Perica had hosted Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk at Apple’s main campus set off a frenzy of speculation that the iPhone maker was considering buying the carmaker. “When you’re the gatekeeper at a company like Apple, that puts you in a very valuable position,” says Eric Risley, a managing partner at mergers-and-acquisitions advisory firm Architect Partners, who has pitched Apple on deals.
Since joining Apple in 2009, Perica has upped the pace of dealmaking, culminating in the $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, the headphone maker and music streaming service founded by rapper and hip-hop artist Dr. Dre and music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine. Perica “is trusted inside the company and built a track record of getting things done,” says John Malloy, a general partner and co-founder of BlueRun Ventures, which invested in Topsy Labs and Chomp, startups acquired by Apple in the past three years.