Apple Inc. (AAPL) Could Have Rescued Greece Twice

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In 2012, an investor attending Apple’s annual shareholder meeting asked CEO Tim Cook if the tech giant ever considered acquiring Greece using its rapidly growing cash pile. Apple had $97.6 billion in cash reserves at the time. Cook said he had looked into many things, but not Greece. Greece has now reached a bailout deal with the Eurozone leaders with tough conditions.

Apple’s cash pile dwarfs Greek bailout package

Athens is getting $96 billion from Europe to put its house in order. That may seem like a lot of money to us, but it’s not a big deal for Apple. As of March 28, the Cupertino-based tech giant had $194 billion in cash and cash equivalents. It means the iPhone maker could have bailed out Greece twice, and still had $2 billion in its kitty.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has pledged to return a staggering $200 billion to its shareholders in the form of stock buybacks and dividends by March 2017. Despite the company’s generous stock buybacks and dividends, its cash pile continues to grow bigger. More than 89% of its total cash or $171 billion is kept overseas to avoid the 35% repatriation tax in the United States.

If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were a country and its market value was its GDP, the iPhone maker would be the 20th richest country in the world, according to latest figures from the World Bank (via Wired). The debt burden of Greece still stands at 175% of its GDP, which means it is unsustainable despite the latest deal. The country needs a total of $212 billion to reduce its debt burden to a manageable 70% of GDP, according to Bloomberg View columnist Leonid Bershidsky.

Apple keeps only a few billion dollars in hard cash

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn’t keep all of its money in hard cash. The company invests a large chunk of its funds in corporate and government securities, and other investments. Apple has its own fund management firm Braeburn Capital to manage its cash.

Though the iPhone maker did not bail out Greece, it is doing its bit to help Greeks. As the debt crisis led to a shutdown of the country’s financial system, Greek customers were unable to send money to Apple to pay for iCloud services. The tech giant has told its Greek users that they would get an extension of 30 days to their iCloud plan.

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