Apple’s payout to shareholders will be the world’s largest—ever

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Congratulations, Apple shareholders. In a matter of months, you deftly transitioned from being owners of the world’s pre-eminent growth story to musty dividend drawers in the world’s premier blue chip value stock. It’s amazing to say, but after Tuesday’s surprise dividend raise, the Cupertino, Calif., company is now atop the list of top dividend payers, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P. Apple is set to return some $11.47 billion to shareholders this year. That’s more than $10.22 billion Exxon Mobil will shovel out to shareholders this year. And it’s also the largest-ever annual dividend paycheck—unadjusted for inflation.

Of course, that might be cold comfort to shareholders who thought they were waiting for the next iPhone rather than the next dividend check. Since Apple’s market capitalization peaked on Sept. 19, 2012, at about $658 billion, its market value has shrunk by 25%, vaporizing roughly $162 billion in paper wealth for shareholders.

Fun fact! Apple’s dividend payout planned over the next 12 months is larger than the individual market capitalization of each of the 204 smallest S&P 500 companies.