Apple once again nixed the idea of paying out a dividend with its US$40 billion cash hoard during Thursday's annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, CA. Bloomberg reported that when asked about paying a dividend out with all its cash, a move that can increase share price, Apple CEO Steve Jobs replied that he preferred having cash on hand so that Apple is always ready to take "big, bold risks."
The subject of paying out a dividend has come up at most shareholder meetings, especially since apple returned to health and began accumulating what has become the largest hoard of cash in the tech world. Apple's management has consistently said no to the idea of paying out a dividend to its shareholders, emphasizing the flexibility that having so much money affords the company.
That said, Apple has historically engaged in very few acquisitions, and the biggest one to date was the acquisition of NeXT in 1997 for $400 million, followed by the PA Semi purchase in 2008 for $286 million, and the Quattro Wireless purchase earlier this year for $275 million.
All three purchases could have been handled with less than a third of the $3 billion plus the company seems to add to its holdings every quarter.
On the other hand, Apple has increased the rate of its acquisitions in just the last couple of years, including the PA Semi and Quattro Wireless buys, as well as the purchase of Lala in 2009. Indeed, the company now has an expert in corporate acquisitions on staff in the form of former Goldman Sachs investment banker Adrian Perica.
Mr. Perica was credited by BusinessWeek for the speed of the Lala purchase, which was completed in just a few short weeks, according to various leaks about the purchase.
Apple also effectively dismissed a suggestion/request from a shareholder during Thursday's meeting to begin a stock buyback program.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.