Apple: We’re talking about how to distribute more of $137B in cash to shareholders

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Even after Apple began issuing a dividend to its stock holders last year, some investors still aren’t happy with the continued accumulation of Apple’s cash pile. In response to one vocal investor on Thursday, Apple issued a statement saying that it is still looking for ways to distribute some of its $137 billion back to investors.

Greenlight Capital CEO David Einhorn, whose firm owns more than a million shares of Apple stock, is unhappy with Apple urging its shareholders to overturn a clause in the company’s bylaws that allow for the issuance of preferred stock. Einhorn is suing Apple in an attempt to get it to reverse its proposal.

Apple responded Einhorn’s public comments about his dissatisfaction with how Apple is handling its cash with its own statement:

Apple’s management team and Board of Directors have been in active discussions about returning additional cash to shareholders. As part of our review, we will thoroughly evaluate Greenlight Capital’s current proposal to issue some form of preferred stock. We welcome Greenlight’s views and the views of all of our shareholders.

As a part of our efforts to further enhance corporate governance and serve our shareholders’ best interests, Proposal #2 in our proxy includes some recommended changes to our articles of incorporation. These changes were recommended independently of Greenlight’s proposal and would not preclude Apple from adopting their concept. Contrary to Greenlight’s statements, adoption of Proposal #2 would not prevent the issuance of preferred stock.

Apple shareholders will be able to vote on its current proposal (PDF) at the Feb. 27 annual meeting.

It was just a year ago that many of these same Apple investors were actively vocalizing their displeasure with the company’s lack of an investor dividend and a fast-accumulating pile of millions. Then in March 2012, after nearly two decades without a dividend, CEO Tim Cook listened to his shareholders and announced a dividend of $2.65 per share, in addition to a share buyback agreement voted on by the board of directors.

As of next week, Apple says it’s returned roughly $10 billion to shareholders out of its planned $45 billion announced last March.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user [401(K) 2012].

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