FORTUNE -- Armchair CEOs, eyeing Apple's (AAPL) growing mountain of cash and marketable securities, have urged it over the years to buy everything from Facebook (FB) and Yahoo (YHOO) to Sony (SNE), Adobe (ADBE) and Disney (DIS).
Last quarter, Apple finally made a major acquisition. And what did it buy?
It bought Apple.
By my (revised) calculation, the company spent $16 billion last quarter ($4 billion in cash, $12 billion through the so-called accelerated share repurchase program) to purchase 32.5 million of its own shares at an average price of about $492.
Most of those shares -- about 22 million -- were retired in fiscal Q3, leaving Apple with 908 million shares outstanding, according to its latest 10-Q. The rest will be retired in Q4.
UPDATE: Dediu has taken a crack at nailing down these somewhat fuzzy numbers. He gets an average per share price of $488.25. See Apple's biggest acquisition.
UPDATE 2: The spreadsheet above was revised to reflect the commentary below by readers who clearly understand better than I do the mechanics of share repurchase programs.
Buying back shares will boost EPS and save Apple $1.5 billion a year in dividends.
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 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 13, 2013 8:35 AM ET
What do any of their concerns have to do with building great products?
FORTUNE -- If Tim Cook needed further validation of Steve Jobs' policy of ignoring the needs and entreaties of Apple's (AAPL) shareholders, the results of the survey at right, released Wedenesday, could provide it.
It comes from a recent luncheon in New York City with several dozen Apple investors that was hosted by Barclays analysts Ben Reitzes and Anthony DiClemente.
If "the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 12, 2012 11:45 AM ET
Since February 14, the stock has hit 27 new highs in 31 trading days
"We're not going to go have a toga party or do something outlandish, and so people don't have to worry [the cash] is going to burn a hole in our pocket." -- Tim Cook
Conventional wisdom had it that Apple's (AAPL) share price would take off once the company declared a dividend.
Turns out, all it took was a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 27, 2012 5:02 PM ET
Most likely scenario: ongoing dividend. Less likely: special dividend or stock buyback
UPDATE: Apple chose options Nos. 1 and 3:
A 2.65% quarterly dividend, starting in fiscal Q4, which ends in September. Expect this to cost more than $10 billion in the first year alone.
A $10 billion stock repurchase plan starting in fiscal Q1 2013 spread out over the next three years, primarily to offset share dilution due to incentive stock grants.
Total MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 19, 2012 6:16 AM ET
|NJ agrees to ban Tesla direct sales|
|Inside the underground sex economy|
|West prepares sanctions against Russia over Ukraine|
|Five predictions for the World Wide Web that were way, way, way off|
|The Deep Web you don't know about|