Now you might be asking, hey, isn't this what billionaire investor Carl Icahn wants Apple to do? Apple has repurchased $40 billion of its shares over the last 12 months, a record for any company. But Icahn wants Apple to buy back $150 billion of its stock, using borrowed money. By buying back its own stock, Apple retires those shares. Fewer shares outstanding changes the demand-supply balance and also raises the earnings per share figure, used by analysts to compute the P/E ratio of the stock. Retiring company shares makes Apple look like a bargain to some investors. Shareholders will vote on Ichan's plan during the February 28th stockholder's meeting.
Last April, Apple announced that it would return $100 billion of capital to investors between $60 billion in share repurchases and dividends. But Cook made it clear that Icahn's request was out of the question. He said that Apple needs to have cash available just in case it needs to make an important purchase. The CEO also made it clear that the purchase of a big company is not out of the question. "We have no problem spending ten figures for the right company, for the right fit that's in the best interest of Apple in the long-term. None. Zero," said Cook.