Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has finally decided to decide what to do with its $100 billion or so mountain of cash. The decision is a dividend, a buyback, and a reserve fund for opportunities. The grand total is to return about $45 billion in capital to its shareholders over the next three years. In some ways, Apple is now like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and the move may keep the pressure on these other tech giants to maintain higher dividends and to buy back stock.
The company declared an initial dividend of $2.65 per share, with the first dividend being paid out in the fiscal fourth quarter of this year (starting July 1).
Apple will buy back up to $10 billion worth of its common stock, and this effectively neutralizes the impact of employee stock option dilution. The buybacks will start in its fiscal year 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012.
Apple believes that this amount of spending versus income will maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and will leave it with plenty of cash to run the business.
JON C. OGG