Apple's on a buying spree, purchasing its own shares

Feb. 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM
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CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The head of Apple Inc. said the U.S. technology giant had gone on an unprecedented stock buyback spree, spending $40 billion in 12 months.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said Apple had purchased $14 billion of its own shares in the past two weeks with buying accelerating after the company's fourth-quarter corporate report was released, showing revenue and earnings below expectations.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday the stock buyback was part of Apple's previously announced intention to buy $60 billion of the company's shares.

Cook said the strategy shows "we are really confident" in the company.

"It means that we are betting on Apple. It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do. We're not just saying that. We're showing that with our actions," Cook said.

Apple is not known for spending enormous sums for acquisitions, never having spent more than $1 billion in any single deal, but Cook said Apple had purchased 21 companies since October 2012, the Journal said.

The concern for shareholders is how Apple should use its cash holdings to its maximum advantage.

Currently, the company has $160 billion in cash.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who has invested $4 billion in Apple, has been pressing Apple to extend its $60 billion repurchasing target to $110 billion, which he would like completed by September, the Journal said.

Apple's annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28.

A major shareholder concern is what the company should do to shore up slowing growth. Cook has said the company would stay focused on making the best mobile phones on the market. Some investors are concerned that this will relegate Apple's market share to a niche upscale corner of the market, leaving consumers of modest means to turn to other products.

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