While for months, on Twitter and in the press, investor Carl Icahn pressured Apple to buy more of its shares on the market, the Apple-based firm launched a plan to buy back its own shares in the month of April. In the end, in 2014, Apple bought for $ 56 billion (is around 45.6 billion euros) of his actions. The amount is impressive. Moreover, according to data provided by FactSet, the US company was the one that spent the most on share buybacks over the past year.
By comparison, IBM reportedly spent $ 19.2 billion over the year. In the last quarter of 2014 alone, Apple bought back $ 17 billion in shares (240% more than in 2013). This is the second highest amount spent on share buybacks by an S&P 500 company in a quarter since 2005, when FactSet began observing this data.
In total, S&P 500 companies spent $ 567.2 billion in repurchase of their own shares in 2014. IBM, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Microsoft… the main high-tech companies in the United States use this technique to flatter their earnings per share, the profitability indicator most watched by investors at Wall Street. It is also an HR strategy: they distribute stock options to some of their employees to retain them, then buy them back at a price advantageous for them.