Most likely scenario: ongoing dividend. Less likely: special dividend or stock buyback
UPDATE: Apple chose options Nos. 1 and 3:
- A 2.65% quarterly dividend, starting in fiscal Q4, which ends in September. Expect this to cost more than $10 billion in the first year alone.
- A $10 billion stock repurchase plan starting in fiscal Q1 2013 spread out over the next three years, primarily to offset share dilution due to incentive stock grants.
Total estimated cost over the next three years: $45 billion.
Apple was up more than $10 (1.83%) in pre-market trading.
Apple’s press release.
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In a note to clients issued Sunday night, less than 12 hours before Apple’s (AAPL) scheduled conference call, RBC Capital’s Mike Abramsky laid out his thoughts about what Tim Cook is likely to do with Apple’s excess cash: (I quote)
WEBCAST @9 a.m. EDT: http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/123pijhbsdfvohbafv19/event/index.html