Apple’s share buyback is bigger than most companies in the S&P 500

You can thank me now.
You can thank me now.
Image: Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid
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It pays to be an Apple shareholder. When the tech company reported its quarterly earnings yesterday, it announced plans to return another $100 billionyes, $100 billion—to shareholders via buybacks, lavishing riches on top of an already generous history of stock repurchases.

Apple spent $23.5 billion buying back shares in the first quarter of 2018, itself the biggest quarterly buyback in US corporate history. The previous record, according to data from the S&P, was also held by Apple, which bought nearly $18 billion in stock in the first quarter of 2014.

The $23.5 billion buyback at the start of this year amounts to more than the market value of 275 companies in the S&P 500.

Apple hasn’t put a date on its future share purchases, but said it wants to complete them “efficiently.” The future buybacks of $100 billion would be enough to buy:

Apple has now completed $200 billion in share buybacks since 2012. That’s enough to buy Verizon, Coca-Cola, or Boeing. Of the 10 biggest quarterly buybacks in US corporate history, six were by Apple.

Looking back over the last few years, here are examples companies Apple could have afforded with the money it spent on share repurchases (adjusted for inflation).

Apple’s cash pile is now $267 billion. After US president Donald Trump cut corporate taxes last year, Apple said it planned to bring back its cash from overseas. While the administration argued that tax reform would allow companies to spend more on wages and innovation, Apple is so far returning much of the money to its shareholders. No wonder its share price jumped more than 2% yesterday, strengthening its lead over the S&P 500.

Additional reporting by Jason Karaian.