Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced in its last earnings report that it had spent $60 billion buying back its shares. But even though that’s quite a sum for the company, investors (or at least one investor, anyway) are pushing for more.
Carl Icahn will meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday to discuss a topic that has plagued the company all year. He thinks Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) should speed up its share repurchasing efforts even faster than it has already been doing.
Apple’s buyback budget is shrinking
Daniel Eran Dilger of Apple Insider notes that as of the beginning of this current quarter, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had about $44 billion left on its current share repurchasing program. And that amount isn’t due to be spent until 2015. It’s also optional, which means the company might not even do it at all.
He suggests though that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has already continued to “aggressively” buy back its own shares this quarter, particularly because of the company’s low stock price. At the beginning of the current quarter, Apple’s shares were selling at $409, a steal compared to their price last September. This means that when Apple reports earnings for the current quarter, it could show of another record quarter of share buybacks, possibly meeting or even exceeding the amount the company bought back during the June quarter.
Will Apple report another high share buyback quarter?
Dilger estimates that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could buy back between 36 million or even 100 million of its shares if the company decided to use up the entire rest of its share buyback plan. Before the company retired any new buybacks, it had 908 million shares still outstanding. So depending on how many shares the company bought back during the September quarter, the number of outstanding shares could be cut by 4 to 11 percent.
This would have a significant impact on the company’s revenue and earnings per share. Of course the only reason Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would have for not taking advantage of its ultra-low share price was if it believed its stock would fall in the next few months or even years. But with such a big September in store, it’s unlikely the company would want to wait.
With two new iPhones already out and new products expected before the end of the year, the company had every reason to have a field day with share buybacks while its share price was low. So if Carl Icahn plans to meet with Tim Cook on Monday to talk about more share buybacks, he may find that he’s already too late.
Of course Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) won’t disclose the number of shares or amount it spend on share buybacks in the quarter until October when it releases its earnings results, so anything else is pure speculation at this point.