After amassing a huge cash hoard, Apple Inc. is finally acknowledging that it doesn't need all that money, saying Monday that it will start paying some of it out to shareholders in the form of a dividend and share buyback program.
Apple will spend $45 billion over the next three years on stock dividends -- beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. It also plans a stock buy-back program, the company announced Monday morning.
The announcement comes days after the Cupertino-based company launched the new iPad.
The company announced the dividend and buy-back plan via a press release and teleconference.. During the 6 a.m. call, Apple fleshed-out its plans for a $10 billion stock buy-back in 2013. The first dividend, at the end of this year, will run $2.65 per share.
Apple said that the per-share number is not static, and could change if the company's fortunes continue to flourish.
As of the end of last year Apple had $97.6 billion in cash and securities -- making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world with a market cap of $545 billion.
Apple's announcement was no surprise: Financial experts expected Apple to announce a long-awaited dividend.
The hoard of cash is indicative of the leadership of former CEO Steve Jobs. Remember, in 1997 Apple was close to bankruptcy, warranting a cover story on Wired magazine with the Apple logo and one word: Pray.
And, like a survivor the Great Depression, Jobs was a "saver."
The announcement was a conference call only. No cameras were allowed on campus to record it.