Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will pay its third dividend to the company's shareholders today. This amounts to $2.5 billion or $2.65 per share on its 939 million outstanding shares. However, that $2.5 billion Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will pay out in this round of dividends is just a small fraction of the cash hoard the company is sitting on currently. Investors like hedge fund manager, David Einhorn, believe Apple should return some of that cash to shareholders.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) originally announced its dividend program and a $10 billion share buyback plan last March. The tech giant said it would pay a dividend of $2.65 per share. Investors who held shares of Apple as of Feb. 11 will receive their payments on Feb. 14.
The company has said that over the next three years, it will distribute $45 billion to its shareholders. However, it currently is sitting on about $137 billion in cash, and the money is rolling in more quickly than it’s going out.
The debate over whether Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) should increase payouts to shareholders has heightened this week, after a second lawsuit has been filed by another shareholder. Hedge fund manager, David Einhorn, filed the first legal shot earlier this month, taking issue with Proposal #2, which is up for a shareholder vote at the company's next shareholders' meeting this month. He believes the proposal will ban the issuance of preferred stock, although Apple maintains that it would simply give shareholders
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could start returning money to shareholders more aggressively. The company certainly has the cash to do so, and executives have said that they are actively discussing options for what to do with that cash.