Apple has to decide what to do with its growing cash pile, and according to Tim Cook, the company is in “very very active” talks. Still he ended Apple’s annual shareholder meeting without giving any additional insight into what the fate of the $137.1 billion in cash and investments will be.
During the annual meeting shareholders re-elected Apple’s board, approved Ernst & Young LLP as accountants, and passed a non-binding measure on executive compensation.
Being more sensitive to shareholders’ concerns than his predecessor, Steve Jobs, also means Cook is now under pressure from shareholders to issue increased dividends, or to offer stock buyback or a new class of preferred shares to compensate investors since the company’s shares dropped 36% from their September peak.
Additionally, neither he nor the Apple board are satisfied with the falling stock price, Cook emphasized. But the company is focusing on the long term, and the long-term question for investors is whether or not Apple can continue this tremendous growth. Referring to last year, Cook highlighted that Apple has grown by about $48 billion, booking $24 billion from China alone, the biggest sales revenue of all US technology companies they are “aware of”.
When asked whether he still considers the Einhorn lawsuit silly, he said he does, despite the judge’s ruling. A proposal that would have required Apple to get shareholder approval before issuing a new class of preferred shares was scrapped before the meeting.
As anticipated, Tim Cook was vague when talking about future plans. He said: “Obviously, we’re looking at new categories — we don’t talk about them, but we’re looking at them”.