With Apple (AAPL)’s stock dropping some 37% from its September high and shareholders increasingly pointing at the company’s $137 billion cash pile, CEO Tim Cook hinted on Wednesday that he was “seriously considering” options to return some of the company’s cash hoard.
Speaking at a shareholder meeting in his company’s Cupertino headquarters, Cook acknowledged investor disappointment over Apple’s falling stock price, saying that no-one enjoyed it. Since printing the tape at an all-time high of $705.07 five months ago, Apple’s stock has nosedived by more than a third, wiping out collective shareholder wealth totaling $240 billion.
“I don’t like it either. The board doesn’t like it. The management team doesn’t like it,” Cook said. “But by focusing on the long term, revenue and profit would follow,” he said.
Cook added that last year had been the “mother of all years” for Apple and reminded investors that iPhone-maker’s business grew by $48 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, outpacing Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Dell, Hewlett Packard (HPQ), RIM and Nokia combined.” Cook also said Apple was working on new product categories, but as usual, and true to his company’s secretive nature, he would not elaborate.
The declining share price has led to demands that Apple share more of its $137bn mountain of cash and securities
As far as demands that Apple share more of its $137 billion mountain of cash, Cook told shareholders Wednesday that Apple’s board is still exploring what to do with its net cash. He also played down demands spearheaded by outspoken hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who being dissatisfied with Apple’s capital allocation strategy has launched a lawsuit to force Cupertino to pay out some of its cash to shareholders in the form of preferred stock.
“I strongly believe it was a silly sideshow, regardless of how the judge ruled on it,” Cook said. “The underlying principle of cash distribution was something he and the board took seriously,” he added.
Apple’s stock fell $4.40, or 0.98%, to $444.57 in afternoon trading Wednesday. Pre-market: up 53 cents, or 0.12%, to $445.10 / Feb 28, 5:51AM EST NASDAQ real time quotes.
Source: The Guardian