The meeting opens at 9am, with a 6-point agenda:
Items of Business
- (a) To elect to the Board of Directors the following eight nominees presented by the Board: James Bell, Tim Cook, Al Gore, Bob Iger, Andrea Jung, Art Levinson, Ron Sugar, and Sue Wagner;
- (b) To ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm for 2018;
- (c) To vote on an advisory resolution to approve executive compensation;
- (d) To approve the amended and restated Apple Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan;
- (e) To vote on the shareholder proposals set forth in the proxy statement, if properly presented at the Annual Meeting; and
- (f) To transact such other business as may properly come before the Annual Meeting and any postponements or adjournments thereof.
Steve Jobs Theater
It’s the first shareholder meeting to be held in the Steve Jobs Theater. Apple announced the name for the 1000-seat auditorium almost a year ago.
To honor his memory and his enduring influence on Apple and the world, the theater at Apple Park will be named the Steve Jobs Theater. Opening later this year, the entrance to the 1,000-seat auditorium is a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder, 165 feet in diameter, supporting a metallic carbon-fiber roof. The Steve Jobs Theater is situated atop a hill — one of the highest points within Apple Park — overlooking meadows and the main building.
The theater was used for the iPhone X announcement in September, when we got our first look inside.
Analysts looking for clues
Apple’s tax provisions indicate that the company plans to repatriate the majority of its overseas cash. It said during its recent earnings call that it plans to end up cash-neutral. This would imply spending around $163B in order to reduce its cash holdings to match its debt.
Analysts expect Apple to spend its cash in two or three ways:
- Boosting stock buybacks
- Dividend increase
- Possible one-off special dividend
Accelerating the stock buyback program effectively increases the value of shares already held. A dividend increase is also anticipated, though there is no clear view on whether this is likely to be in line with previous modest increases, or a more generous bump. A one-time special dividend has also been mooted.
Apple isn’t expected to make any concrete announcements on its cash plans until April, but some are hoping that there will at least be some hints in today’s meeting.
Apple acquisitions are a constant source of speculation, with Netflix and Tesla grabbing headlines, though neither seems remotely likely. Some analysts do expect Apple to boost its lower-end acquisitions, though again Apple usually buys companies for strategic reasons rather simply because it can afford to do so.