As part of its earnings cycle today, Apple announced that it will increase its dividend 8 percent, add $30 billion to its share buyback program current to a total of $90 billion, and split its stock 7 for 1 in June.
The company’s dividend will also now rise yearly.
Apple is incredibly cash-rich, and has been under pressure to utilize its vast financial resources to reward its investors. Apple’s shares fell more than 1 percent in regular trading, and are up a minute fraction in after-hours trading.
The news matters, as Apple is helping set the tone for other wealthy tech companies. Apple is relatively new to having a dividend at all, so to see it push here could force other firms to make similar actions. Microsoft has also been pressed to better shareholder returns.
Apple will now pay out around $11 billion in yearly dividend payments.
Given that much of its cash is sitting in foreign accounts that it doesn’t wish to repatriate to avoid massive tax fees, Apple will hit up the debt markets for more dollars, it being cheaper to use other’s domestic cash than its foreign reserves:
To assist in funding the program, the Company expects to access the public debt markets during 2014, both domestically and internationally, for an amount of term debt similar to what the Company raised during 2013. The management team and the Board of Directors will continue to review each element of the capital return program regularly.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook called the changes a “significant increase” in Apple’s “capital return program.” Correct. And if investors were getting grumpy about his tenure, I doubt there will be much whining after all this.
Apple closed today at $524.75 a share.