Goldman Sachs is becoming Apple’s go-to bank under Tim Cook

Tim Cook’s new BFF?
Tim Cook’s new BFF?
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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Apple once shunned outside financial advisers. Steve Jobs was known to look down on bankers, feeling Apple didn’t need their help. But in the Tim Cook era, the company is increasingly turning to Wall Street for advice, and Apple’s go-to bank is Goldman Sachs.

When Apple faced public pressure from hedge fund manager David Einhorn to return more cash to investors, it called on Goldman, which helped Apple assess Einhorn’s credibility and advised the company on its options. Apple was not used to the public criticism and didn’t know how seriously to take it, sources said.

When Jobs was alive, Apple largely ignored investor complaints. But with Apple’s stock down by about 40% since last September, the company could no longer tune out shareholder pressure. Last week, the company announced it was increasing it share buyback by $50 billion and increasing its dividend by 15%.

As part of that plan, Apple is going to be issuing debt, a rare move for the company. Although Apple has $145 billion in cash, much of it is overseas, which means it would incur taxes if the cash were used for dividends and buybacks. So, instead, Apple is issuing bonds.

Again, it looks like Apple will turn to Goldman to help arrange the bond sale. Goldman, along with Deutsche Bank, will likely take the lead roles for the debt offering, sources said. Apple bonds are expected to be in high demand among investors.

Now Goldman just has to advise Apple on a company takeover and the circle of trust will be complete. At the Goldman Sachs technology conference earlier this year, Cook said Apple has looked at buying big companies but none passed muster. But he said Apple would still look at big deals.