Apple SVP Jeff Williams sends letter to employees following supplier responsibility report

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Alongside the release of Apple’s supplier responsibility report today highlighting working conditions within its supply chain, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams has also sent out a letter to employees. In the past, CEO Tim Cook has been known to send out an email to employees following the supplier report. In today’s letter, Williams went over some of the key points from the supplier responsibility report and noted, “to drive accountability, we are now publishing a quarterly list of the names, countries, and participation status of the smelters and refiners in our supply chain.” Williams also mentioned new education programs, the launch of the Apple Supplier Environment, Health, and Safety Academy, and more.

The full letter from Williams only accessible to employees is below: Read more

Icahn says Apple “doing great disservice to shareholders,” increases AAPL investment to $3B

Following a precatory proposal from billionaire investor and Apple shareholder Carl Icahn urging Apple to vote on a larger buyback, Icahn today announced on Twitter that he thinks Apple “is doing great disservice to shareholders by not having markedly increased its buyback.” He also said that he would soon send Apple another in-depth letter regarding his proposals and confirmed that he has purchased another $500 million in Apple shares bringing his total investment to $3 billion.  Read more

Carl Icahn urges $150B Apple buyback in letter to Tim Cook, increases investment to $2.5B

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Following an announcement yesterday from billionaire investor Carl Icahn that he had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and would post the full letter online today, Icahn’s new website has now officially launched with the full text of the letter. In the letter on Icahn’s new website called the Shareholders’ Square Table, the investor urged Tim Cook to implement the $150 billion buyback plan that he has been suggesting since first announcing in August that he had taken a “large position” in Apple:

The S&P 500 trades at roughly 14x forward earnings. After backing off net cash, Apple trades at just 9x (not factoring into account that the company has a significantly lower cash tax rate than the rate Wall Street analysts use). This discount (cash adjusted) becomes even more compelling given our confidence that Apple will grow earnings per share at a rate well in excess of the S&P 500 for the foreseeable future. With such an enormous valuation gap and such a massive amount of cash on the balance sheet, we find it difficult to imagine why the board would not move more aggressively to buy back stock by immediately announcing a $150 Billion tender offer (financed with debt or a mix of debt and cash on the balance sheet).

While this would certainly be unprecedented because of its size, it is actually appropriate and manageable relative to the size and financial strength of your company. Apple generates more than enough cash flow to service this amount of debt and has $147 billion of cash in the bank. As we proposed at our dinner, if the company decided to borrow the full $150 billion at a 3% interest rate to commence a tender at $525 per share, the result would be an immediate 33% boost to earnings per share, translating into a 33% increase in the value of the shares, which significantly assumes no multiple expansion. 

In the letter Icahn adds that if the proposed $150 billion buyback was executed immediately, Apple would experience “further stock appreciation of 140% for the shareholders who choose not to sell into the proposed tender offer.” Icahn also agrees to not participate in the buyback by withholding his shares to “ invalidate any possible criticism” regarding the long term benefits of the proposal.

Icahn also noted that he has increased the size of his position in AAPL from 3,875,063 shares to 4,730,739 shares, a value of around $2.5 billion, and that he intends to buy more.

While there isn’t a ton of new information regarding Icahn’s new website, it is already accepting sign ups and a description on the website explains it as “a platform from which we can unite and fight for our rights as shareholders and steer towards the goal of real corporate democracy.”

Icahn says that Cook will call him after the October 28th earnings announcement.

Icahn’s full letter to Tim Cook is below:

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Tim Cook reflects on second anniversary of Steve Jobs’ passing in letter to employees

On the eve of the second anniversary of the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple CEO Tim Cook has reflected on the moment in a company-wide email. A source has provided a copy:

Team-
Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Steve’s death. I hope everyone will reflect on what he meant to all of us and to the world. Steve was an amazing human being and left the world a better place.I think of him often and find enormous strength in memories of his friendship, vision and leadership. He left behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We will continue to honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to the work he loved so much. There is no higher tribute to his memory. I know that he would be proud of all of you.
Best,

Tim

Last year, Apple honored Jobs with a tribute video on its homepage. The video is embedded above and it is a delightful look into the legacy of the man who changed the lives of so many people.
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Updated: Does Apple support the Stop Online Piracy Act? By proxy, at least

Update: The Business Software Alliance has officially withdrawn their support for SOPA on the BSA blog. Important bits after the break.

So where does Apple stand on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)? A report from TNW gives the impression Apple is in support of the bill via their association with the Business Software Alliance, who made their stance clear by commending the introduction of the bill in a recent bulletin. However, while Apple’s stance isn’t official, they do support SOPA by proxy, and haven’t made an effort to distance themselves from it with an official statement. The BSA is also associated with Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, and 20+ other large tech companies.

According to Apple’s website, “Apple works closely with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) to combat software piracy worldwide.” They also provide links to report piracy through the BSA and provide the following statement on copyright law and piracy on their Piracy Prevention page:
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