9 Things Apple Could Do With $137 Billion

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) came under attack Thursday from an influential investor for its practice of stockpiling cash. Its hoard totaled $137 billion at the end of last year, and it keeps growing.

Corporations normally don't hoard cash the way Apple does. They keep enough around for immediate needs, and either invest the rest in their operations or dole it out to shareholders in the form of dividends or stock buybacks. If they need more cash for, say, an acquisition, they borrow it.

Apple has never explained why it is storing away so much money -- other than to say the company is preserving its options.

The money belongs to shareholders, so Apple is limited in what it can legally do with it. Leaving legality aside, here are some things Apple could do with $137 billion:

1. Give every American a check for $437.

2. Buy 213 million iPhones at the average wholesale price, enough for every American who lives east of the Mississippi River, plus Texas.

3. Based on market value at Thursday's close, Apple could acquire Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) , Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN  ) , LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) , Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) , Pandora (NYSE: P  ) , Blackberry  (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) , Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO  ) , Yelp (NYSE: YELP  ) , Zillow (NASDAQ: Z  ) , and Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA  ) -- and have more than $2 billion left to spare.

4. Create a stack of dollar bills 9,300 miles high, 38 times higher than the orbit of the International Space Station.

5. Buy 100,000 luxury Manhattan apartments, enough to house the population of Omaha.

6. Foot the bill for U.S. federal spending on education for two years.

7. Give every Apple employee a bonus of $1.7 million.

8. Double U.S. foreign economic aid to the developing world for three and half years.

9. Provide shareholders with a one-time dividend of $145 per share. (The stock closed Thursday at $456.95)


Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2013, at 1:19 PM, kthor wrote:

    WTF " Give every Apple employee a bonus of $1.7 million"

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2013, at 1:42 PM, Hoptopia wrote:

    Wow must have been a slow day to come up with that list. How about paying down our national debt with the promise that Obama and congress will cut 10x that in spending?

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2013, at 6:33 PM, TMFBuffjan wrote:

    Typical east coast bias - giving away iphones to people east of the Mississippi instead of the west!

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2013, at 10:17 PM, skleiniv wrote:

    Look, if you're going to be a site dedicated to writing information on investing please don't waste our time with nonsense like this. Why not write a serious commentary of constructive ways apple could increase shareholder value & get the price of the stock back up. This stuff was useless

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2013, at 2:19 AM, jlclayton wrote:

    I believe the point of the article was to show just how much cash Apple is hoarding in terms that illustrate the magnitude of of their stockpile.

    This cash hoard is actually the reason that I have reservations about Apple. It's doing absolutely nothing for investors sitting overseas, no stock buybacks have been announced at a time when shares appear to be cheaply priced, and R&D spending is reported to be lower than the spending trying to enforce patents.

    There's a lot positives to owning Apple, but if they can't figure out how to maximize the cash they are creating, management still has some work to do to earn my confidence at a price that still has a lot of room to fall.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2013, at 2:40 AM, lcdyers wrote:

    Apple should do what Warren buffett did, promise to buy back the stocks if the stocks hit a certain price. That will put a floor to the stock.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2013, at 4:07 AM, Tom10Saga wrote:

    The average cash ratio of Apple is 0.76, compared to 3.35 of Google , 1.93 of Microsoft and 0.52 of BlackBerry . Though International Business Machines and Hewlett-Packard boast of a cash ratio lower than 0.3, 0.76 of Apple does not seem too large or unconceivable to me when compared with the rest. When most of the US banks are hoarding up cash reserves, tech companies are bolstering their cash assets.

    But does that really matter whether Apple has too much cash or not?

    No, the total return to the investment matters.

    In any case recent markets positive direction was accurately forecasted by:

    http://alturl.com/bwmon

    On November the 6.

    Good Luck!

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2013, at 1:24 AM, OceanJackson wrote:

    Entertaining but useless.

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