Apple is betting big – on itself. CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the company has repurchased $14 billion of its own shares over the last two weeks, after the eight-percent decline in stock price that followed its Q1 financial results.
Apple sold a record-setting 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads during its first quarter. But while those results were just good enough to surpass analyst expectations, lower-than-expected second quarter guidance brought shares down quickly. After Apple’s buyback announcement, shares rose 1.6 percent in premarket trading.
This massive buyback might bring activist investor Carl Icahn to mind. Icahn owns roughly $4 billion in Apple shares, and has asked the company – which has about $160 billion in the bank – to repurchase an additional $50 billion in shares before the end of September. That’s in addition to what the company has already repurchased — $40 billion of its own shares over the last 12 months, which is part of a plan to repurchase $60 billion. Apple plans to announce details regarding the buyback program in March or April.
According to Cook, though, this isn’t about Icahn. Cook told the WSJ, “It means that we are betting on Apple.” Part of that bet is on some all-new products. Cook added further fuel to iWatch speculation, saying, “There will be new categories. We’re not ready to talk about it, but we’re working on some really great stuff.”