Apple announces plans for $98b cash stockpile

Headlines about Apple's latest announcement are hard to miss this morning—and understandably so. It's not everyday the world's highest-valued company announces plans for a cash stockpile that, as of last December, totaled a staggering $97.6 billion.

Apple announced the fate of much of that money earlier this morning. As it turns out, some of the cash will go back to shareholders, and some of it will be used by Apple to repurchase its own stock. Here are the dirty details from official press release:

Subject to declaration by the Board of Directors, the Company plans to initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program commencing in the Company’s fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012. The repurchase program is expected to be executed over three years, with the primary objective of neutralizing the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs.

Apple says it expects to use up around $45 billion of its cash within three years through the dividends, share buybacks, and "cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs." (Wikipedia tells me RSUs are restricted securities.) There's no word on Apple's plans for the remaining contents of its war chest, though.

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