Apple announces plan for its cash: give it back to shareholders

Apple has plans for its giant pile of cash.

In advance of a conference call Monday morning, Apple announced it would begin paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share and would also begin a $10 billion stock repurchase prorgram later this year.

On Sunday, Apple announced a conference call where it would reveal its plans for the nearly $100 billion it had sitting on its books. Apple had not issued a quarterly dividend since Steve Jobs returned to the company in the mid 1990s.

But with the company’s cash growing by tens of billions of dollars per year, investors had begun to vocally agitate for something to be done to return cash to shareholders. The quarterly dividend was to be paid in the fourth quarter, which begins July 1, All Things D reported. The share buyback program was to begin in the company’s next fiscal year, which starts Sept. 30.

The announcement of the dividend is just the latest change for Apple, Inc. since the death last year of founder Steve Jobs. Jobs had long been against issuing a dividend but new CEO Tim Cook had signaled for months that the company might be softening its stance in that direction.

The total cost of the dividend and share repurchase program is believed to be about $45 billion spread over three years. It’s possible Apple will be able to finance that entirely from new profits and not have to reduce its cash accounts. According to the New York Times, Apple could have paid a dividend of more than $14 per share and financed that entirely from new profits.

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