The company is likely to hold on to its $100 billion cash hoard -- at least for now
I suspect that the number one question on the mind of Apple (AAPL) shareholders gathering today at 1 Infinite Loop for the company's annual meeting is what Tim Cook plans to do with Apple's roughly $100 billion in cash and marketable securities.
"I think it's clear to everyone, and I'd be the first to admit, we have more cash than we need to run the business on a daily basis," Cook told investors at a Goldman Sachs conference last week.
What will he do with all that extra dough? Speculation (see, for example, here) has centered on four scenarios:
Judging from Cook's remarks last week, however, I'd say the most likely scenario is none of the above -- at least for now.
While repeating previous remarks about not being "religious" about holding on to extra cash and being engaged in "active discussions" about what to do with it, Cook went on to say: (I quote)
Finally -- and this may be the clincher -- Cook said "we're in very active discussions at the board level on what we should do." A close reading of Apple's 2012 proxy suggests that while the three-person audit committee met nine times in 2011, there may have been only one full board meeting (last November) since Aug. 24, 2011, when Steve Jobs submitted his resignation.
It's hard to imagine a multi-billion dollar decision like this being made without at least one more meeting of the full board.
UPDATE: Meeting over. No dividend or buyback or stock split today. See here.
The shareholders meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET).
Something jammed its blood funnel into Apple's share price last week
"Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression."
So wrote Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi in his 2010 takedown of Goldman Sachs -- the article that famously described the 143-year-old banking house as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
Without ever actually accusing Goldman MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 18, 2012 7:18 AM ET
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