iPhone News Desk
Apple to Pay Dividend
At $10.60 a year that would currently be about a 1.8% yield, putting it among the highest dividend payers in the US
By: Maureen O'Gara
Mar. 20, 2012 07:45 AM
Breaking with tradition - and changing the definition of a growth company in the process - Apple Monday morning said it would start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share in the September quarter.
At $10.60 a year that would currently be about a 1.8% yield, putting it among the highest dividend payers in the US, but disappointing analysts who thought it could easily afford 3% or more.
It will also start buying back shares in the December quarter. It means to buy back $10 billion worth of its shares over three years. Many people regard buybacks as a waste of money.
Apple's got more than $100 billion in the bank - twice what Google had at the end of last year - and equal to somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 a share - but two-thirds of it is offshore in the Cayman Islands where it's paying next to nothing in taxes.
Apple is going to use the money it's got in states for the dividend and buyback to preserve the bulk of its cash mountain from repatriation taxes.
It makes most of its money in foreign markets.
During the conference call announcing the dividend that investors have been clamoring for, CEO Tim Cook said the new iPad, which went on sale Friday, had a record weekend but would not discuss numbers. The company warned ahead of time that it would only talk about it plans for its cash.
Cook said the company had thought "deeply and carefully" about what to do with its massive amount of money. It reckons that by spending roughly $10 billion a year on the dividend it will still have what it needs to run the business and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities as they present themselves. It also expects the move to widen its investor base.
It won't do a stock split anytime soon. Cook said there's little support for it although Apple's stock is at a record high. When the market opened minutes after the call it was up $9 and change to close to $595 then fell back to ~$591ish within a half-hour. It briefly grazed $600 last week on iPad expectations.
Apple said it will reconsider the split issue if it thinks it's in the best interests of the company and shareholders.
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