Apple announced Sunday that it would make an announcement Monday morning that outlined a plan for its $100 billion cash hoard. Many shareholders were hoping for some kind of dividend or buyback, though few thought it realistic. It's been 17 years since Apple's last dividend.
Shareholders, however, got their wish.
Monday Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a $2.65 per share quarterly dividend and stock buyback beginning in Apple's fourth quarter. "We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure," said Cook. "Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program."
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said the company is expecting to use $45 billion of its domestic cash in the first three years of the program. Apple's focus will be to maintain flexibility as it takes advantage of additional investment opportunities, as well as to increase attractiveness to a broader investment base, preserve value from employee equity dilution, and repurchase shares to offset the issuing of employee equity grants, he said.
Shares of Apple stock were up 14.05 or 2.4%, before trading was halted while the announcement was made. At the opening bell Apple was at 598.37, up 12.80 or 2.18%. As midday passed, the stock again flirted with the 600 mark, up 12.73 or 2.17% to 598.30 as of 1:36 p.m. EDT.