Apple May be Planning Stock Dividend & Buyback Changes

Apple may have plans for more stock dividends and buybacksApple is apparently looking at adding more dividends for shareholders or a new stock buyback plan to increase the cash going back to investors, and those changes could be coming this spring. Assuming the rumor pans out, shareholders would get a bigger share of Apple's massive cash horde, although right now there isn't any official confirmation that the company is ready to make an announcement.

News of the rumor came courtesy of unnamed sources talking with Quartz, and followed a lawsuit from Greenlight Capital hedge fund investor David Einhorn who was trying to push Apple into issuing preferred stock. He successfully stopped a movement that would've required shareholder approval before issuing preferred stock, and then dropped his lawsuit.

Apple has over US$137 billion in cash and investors like Mr. Einhorn want to get their hands on more of that money. The company isn't jumping into any commitments, but has apparently turned to Goldman Sachs to help sort out the best way to deal with its cash reserve.

Apple planned to present to  shareholders a measure requiring their approval before issuing preferred stock options, but Mr. Einhorn wanted the board to be able to hand out the more valuable options without first going to investors. He also wanted the company to offer a perpetual dividend of $0.50 a share per quarter regardless of how the company was performing.

Since Apple bundled the preferred stock vote with two other measures, Mr. Einhorn was able to convince a Judge that the company was violating its own bylaws as well as Federal requirements. Apple pulled the measure from the vote after the Judge issued an injunction.

It isn't any secret that Apple is evaluating what to do with its massive nest egg, although the company hasn't confirmed exactly what it plans to do. CEO Tim Cook said they have been looking at purchasing another company but so far haven't found a good fit, and options for returning more money to investors are on the table, too.

Whether or not additional dividends are coming, or that the company's stock buyback plan will expand, is still only rumor and speculation. What is clear is investor interest in what Apple does with that money, and how soon it happens.