Apple/Einhorn Plot Thickens: Apple Confesses in Response

Stock Split ImageApple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has formally responded to the call from Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn. This is strange to see from a company where Steve Jobs might have told Einhorn to go beat feet. That was then and Tim Cook is trying to show that he is taking the activist investor's ploy. What is important to realize is that Apple is admitting that its cash is has reached more than enough and that it is looking at more ways to return capital to its holders.

Here is what Apple had to say on the matter:

By early last year, Apple's cash balance had built to a point beyond what we needed to run our business and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities, so we announced a plan to return $45 billion to shareholders over three years. As of next week we will have executed $10 billion of that plan.

We find ourselves in the fortunate position of continuing to generate large amounts of cash, including $23 billion in cash flow from operations in the last quarter alone.

Apple's management team and Board of Directors have been in active discussions about returning additional cash to shareholders. As part of our review, we will thoroughly evaluate Greenlight Capital's current proposal to issue some form of preferred stock. We welcome Greenlight's views and the views of all of our shareholders.

As a part of our efforts to further enhance corporate governance and serve our shareholders' best interests, Proposal #2 in our proxy includes some recommended changes to our articles of incorporation. These changes were recommended independently of Greenlight's proposal and would not preclude Apple from adopting their concept. Contrary to Greenlight's statements, adoption of Proposal #2 would not prevent the issuance of preferred stock. Currently, Apple's articles of incorporation provide for the issuance of "blank check" preferred stock by the Board of Directors without shareholder approval. If Proposal #2 is adopted, our shareholders would have the right to approve the issuance of preferred stock. As such, Proposal #2 has the support of many of our shareholders.

We remain committed to having an ongoing dialogue with our shareholders to get perspectives around return of capital and driving shareholder value.

Apple shares are now up about 2% at $463.50 and 1% of that move was simply after the "admission of guilt" response came out.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Activist Investor, Consumer Electronics, Corporate Governance, Technology, Technology Companies Tagged: AAPL

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