Despite all of Carl Icahn’s complaints that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) needed to buy back more shares, the company has been doing quite well, at least in terms of how it stacks up against other companies. Data from FactSet shows that the company beat all other companies according to dollar value over the trailing 12 months. Apple came in second for the fourth quarter.
Apple defends against Icahn
Icahn initially started pushing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to buy back $150 billion worth of shares last fall. Then he retreated to $50 billion, but he tried to put a non-binding shareholder proposal on the proxy for the annual shareholders’ meeting. Apple recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal, essentially saying that it has been buying back plenty of shares.
Icahn ended up dropping his proposal after the influential investor advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services also advised shareholders to vote against it.
Apple leads other U.S. companies in dollar value buybacks
This week FactSet released data on share repurchases for all of 2013 and for the fourth quarter. On a trailing twelve month basis, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) bought back nearly $27 billion worth of shares. That was a 5% decline in share count, but it still beat other U.S. companies by a significant margin. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) was in second place with less than $17 billion worth of shares, and that company’s share count repurchase fell more than 11% year over year.
Here’s a look at the top ten companies and their share repurchase amounts for the trailing 12 months, according to FactSet.
Apple comes in second for the fourth quarter
In the most recently completed quarter, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) bought back about $5.1 billion worth of shares. Of course that’s still a far cry from the $150 billion Carl Icahn was clamoring for, but it was enough to earn the company second place. The only other company which bought back more shares by value during the fourth quarter was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), with nearly $6 billion.
Here are the top ten companies’ share repurchase amounts for the fourth quarter, according to data from FactSet.
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Across all U.S. companies, FactSet found that quarterly buybacks increased 28.5% year over year, hitting $126 billion for the fourth quarter and $477.6 billion in the trailing 12 months. The information and technology sector spent the most on buying back shares during the fourth quarter, at $34.6 billion. This means Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) alone made up nearly 15% of the IT sector’s buyback value during the quarter. On a year over year basis, the IT sector increased the value of its share buybacks by 69.4%, which is one of the biggest growth rates in the S&P 500.