In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook has disclosed that Apple has re-purchased $14 billion worth of the companies own shares over the past two weeks. Following Apple’s record-breaking Q1 earnings results, the company’s stock fell approximately 8%, and Cook says he was “surprised about this.”
“It means that we are betting on Apple. It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do,” said Mr. Cook, speaking in a conference room at the company’s corporate headquarters here. “We’re not just saying that. We’re showing that with our actions.”
Cook told the WSJ that Apple would discuss updates to its controversial buy-back program in the March/April timeframe. Responding to why Apple keeps such a tight grip on so much cash, Cook responded:
“You want to be able to adjust for the long-term interest of the shareholders, not for the short-term shareholder, not for the day trader,” Mr. Cook said. “We may see a huge company tomorrow that we want to acquire or something may happen in the stock market that’s unpredictable.”
Cook also explained Apple’s philosophy in regards to acquisitions:
“We’ve looked at big companies. We don’t have a predisposition not to buy big companies. The money is also not burning a hole in our pocket where we say, ‘let’s make a list of 10 and pick the best one,’” said Mr. Cook. “We have no problem spending ten figures for the right company, for the right fit that’s in the best interest of Apple in the long-term. None. Zero.”
Over the past couple of years, Apple has made several strategic acquisitions, but none of the purchased companies were paid for in the billions of dollars range.
Cook also reiterated his statement that the company is working on new product categories:
“There will be new categories. We’re not ready to talk about it, but we’re working on some really great stuff,” Mr. Cook said. When asked whether a new product category could mean an improvement on an existing product like an iPad Air, a lighter version of its tablet computer, or new services such as mobile payments, Mr. Cook declined to comment.
He said that anyone “reasonable” would consider what Apple is working on as new categories.