|Apple's third dividend is expected to be paid on February 15. The company will dole out $2.65 to 939 million shares for a total output of $2.5 billion dollars, with shareholders of record on February 11 receiving the payments. Despite the lawsuit by Greenlight Capital calling for the company to increase dividend payouts, Apple's $10 billion payout per year puts it in the top five percent of dividend allotments in the US.
In conjunction with the dividend payout, Apple is in the midst of a stock buyback program, intended to reclaim shares it has awarded to board members and other executives of the company. As recently as 2010, Steve Jobs dismissed several suggestions regarding what the company should do with its growing stockpile of cash, saying that he believed that a dividend program would have no positive effect on the stock price. Apple paid no dividends for over 17 years.
CEO Tim Cook implemented the buyback program at the same time as the dividend payout declaration. He said during the March 2012 conference call discussing corporate earnings that the company could make its normal investments and offer the dividend, saying "we have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure."
At the time of the dividend announcement, Apple stock was worth around $550 per share. The stock broke the $700 mark in September, but has since fallen to around $465, possibly proving Jobs' point about the dividend effort not helping the stock price of the company. Apple's annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for February 27, and the issue of the recent drop in stock value is likely to be a hot topic.