Apple goes on a buying binge


The ink had not yet dried on its disappointing first-quarter earnings report last month when Apple apparently spotted a real deal and began scooping up its own stock to the tune of $14 billion.

Various press reports have revealed that Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Cupertino comrades were “surprised” when the company’s stock fell eight percent on the heels of its earnings report and revenue outlook. As I wrote here, Apple announced record iPhone sales of 51 million over the holiday season, which boosted quarterly revenue to an all-time high of $57.6 billion. Yet still the numbers disappointed investors, many of whom are chomping at the bit for the Next Big Thing from the Cupertino tech giant.

Cook, obviously, disagrees with the analysts and investors who feel Apple’s better days are behind it. He told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday he wanted to be “aggressive” and “opportunistic,” which explains the big-bucks stock purchase.

Apple investors apparently were heartened by the news, sending up shares of the stock nearly two percent in Friday-morning trading.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment. But as the AP pointed out, the company is not resting on its laurels.

Its reported stock buybacks signals the company remains confident in its business. This is good news for investors, including Carl Icahn. The billionaire activist investor has been pressuring Apple to boost its stock buybacks. Just last month Icahn raised his stake in Apple, revealing on Twitter that he’d put another $500 million into Apple stock. He already owned about 4.7 million Apple Inc. shares worth more than $2.5 billion.

While Apple reportedly repurchased $14 billion of its stock in two weeks, Icahn has said he wants the Cupertino, Calif., company to spend $50 billion buying back its own stock during the current fiscal year ending in September.

Cook told the Journal that Apple has repurchased more than $40 billion of its shares in the last 12 months.



Patrick May Patrick May (341 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.