FORTUNE -- By the time it decided in April to increase its stock buyback program five fold -- from $10 billion to $60 billion -- Apple (AAPL) already spent $1.95 billion of the original $10 billion fund and had bought and retired nearly 4.1 million shares of Apple common stock. Average share price, according to the company's latest Form 10-Q: $478.20.
That leaves, by Robert Paul Leitao's calculations, $58 billion to be spent over the next 11 quarters.
Leitao, who writes the Posts at Eventide blog and oversees the Braeburn Group of independent analysts, used two assumptions to create the charts above: That the $58 billion would be spent in equal parts of approximately $5.272 billion each, and that Apple's share price would rise $25 each quarter from $475 per share this quarter to $725 per share in fiscal Q1 2016 (the last calendar quarter of 2015).
As a result of the exercise, Leitao made several interesting discoveries:
"The dividends saved each year will go a long way to covering the interest costs on the funds borrowed to facilitate the share repurchases," Leitao nots, "while Apple continues to earn interest on the off-shore funds not repatriated and used for the share repurchases."
NOTE: Included in the numbers is the expectation the 1,494,992 shares received on April 1, 2013 will be included in the June quarter reduction in the share count. Not included are any new shares used for stock-based compensation during the 11-quarter period.
Over the past two decades, investing earnings in buybacks or future growth has trumped the stodgy old dividend and nowhere more so than in the tech industry. That is changing.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE -- As long as there have been dividends, there have been arguments between shareholders and company managers over whether to pay them. The strongest argument against paying dividends was profit growth: If a company can reinvest MOREJun 29, 2012 6:44 AM ET
The company finished fiscal Q2 with $65.8 billion in cash and marketable securities
Asymco's Horace Dediu, who is a master at these things, has charted Apple's (AAPL) growing cash hoard and offered some comparisons to put it in perspective. I quote:
The funds are big enough to place Apple's CFO office in the top 100 largest fund managers in the world and larger than any hedge fund manager.
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He will ignore the latest call for Apple to share its huge cash hoard as he ignores them all
Most of the arguments for and against the open letter to Apple's (AAPL) board of directors issued Thursday by Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi have already been made. (See here and here.)
Sacconaghi's polemics against Apple's policy of holding on to its profits -- rather than distributing them to its shareholders -- tend to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 13, 2010 8:48 AM ET
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