Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco are flush with cash, and so are many other tech companies
Major tech stalwarts, including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco, rank among the most cash-rich companies in the world. They’ve got billions -- in the form of cash and short-term investments -- to spend on acquisitions, R&D, stock buybacks, dividends and more. Here’s how they rank.
During the last three fiscal years, Microsoft spent $20 billion of its cash on stock repurchases ($4.6 billion in 2013, $4 billion in 2012, and $11.5 billion in 2011.) Still, its cash pile remains enormous at $77 billion. That total includes $3.8 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and $73.2 billion in short-term investments. Microsoft’s cash pile has been growing steadily since the end of 2008, when it totaled $20 billion. In June, Microsoft (which began paying dividends in 2003) announced a dividend of $0.23 per share, up 15% over the prior year quarter. Microsoft’s long-term debt currently sits at $12.6 billion.
Save for a dip in mid-2012, Google’s cash pile has been growing steadily for the last several years, climbing from nearly $16 billion in late 2008 to more than $54.4 billion today ($16.16 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and $38.27 billion in marketable securities). To date, Google doesn't pay a dividend and it’s not buying back stock -- although industry watchers says it’s inevitable that the tech giant will begin returning cash to shareholders.
Cisco is sitting on a $50.6 billion cash pile ($7.9 billion in cash and cash equivalents and $42.7 billion in investments). It also carries $13 billion in long-term debt. During fiscal year 2013, ended July 27, Cisco paid $3.3 billion in cash dividends. In the big picture, the company has spent $78.9 billion on buybacks since the inception of its stock repurchase program in September 2001.
Apple’s cash stash is legendary. At the end of June, Apple reported $11.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents, plus $31.4 billion in short-term marketable securities, for a total of $42.6 billion. (The more eye-popping number is the additional $104 billion Apple has in long-term marketable securities, which isn’t counted in this tally because long-term investments aren’t easily converted into cash.) Its long-term debt stands at $17 billion. Some of Apple’s liquid assets are destined for shareholders’ wallets, as Apple reinstated its dividend in 2012. The most recent dividend payout, announced in July, hit $3.05 per share. In addition, Apple announced a massive $60 billion stock buyback plan in April. It’s the largest stock repurchase in history.
Oracle has been growing its cash pile, which today is up to $32.2 billion. That total includes $14.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and $17.6 billion in marketable securities. Oracle has been paying a quarterly dividend since early 2009, and in June it announced a dividend of $0.12 per share -- which is double the $0.06 it paid in the year-ago quarter. Oracle’s board also authorized an additional $12 billion in stock buybacks.
Thanks in part to its vast patent portfolio, Qualcomm is raking in the cash. The mobile chipmaker’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $30.4 billion at the end of June, compared to $26.5 billion a year ago, and the company has no debt. In March, Qualcomm raised its quarterly dividend by 40% from $0.25 to $0.35 per share. At the same time, it announced plans to hike its share buyback program to $5 billion.
At the close of the quarter ended April 30, HP had $13.2 billion in cash. It also had nearly $20 billion in long-term debt. The value of HP’s cash has been on an upward trend following a sharp decline to $8 billion in the quarter ended Oct. 31, 2011. HP’s quarterly dividend held steady at $0.08 per share for more than a decade until mid-2011, when HP increased it to $0.12. This year it climbed to $0.01452 per share. In fiscal year 2011, HP spent roughly $10 billion on buybacks, but since then has shifted away from spending cash on stock repurchases.
Dell’s cash stash is worth $11.8 billion ($11.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and $643 million in short-term investments), and the company carries $4 billion in long-term debt. In mid-2012, Dell began paying $0.08 quarterly dividends to shareholders (who are set to vote next month on a takeover bid proposed by Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake).
EMC’s cash pile spiked to $11.1 billion at the end of June, up from $6.5 billion in the prior quarter. The $11.15 tally consists of $7.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents, plus $3.6 billion in short-term investments. EMC’s long-term debt amounts to $7.2 billion. Notably, EMC started paying a dividend for the first time this year. In May, EMC’s board approved the initiation of a quarterly cash dividend, the first of which ($0.10 per share) was paid in July. The board also increased EMC’s share buyback program from $1 billion to $6 billion.
Like many of its tech peers, IBM has been increasing its efforts to return cash to shareholders. In April, Big Blue announced plans to boost its quarterly dividend by 12% and bolster its stock buyback program by $5 billion (bringing the total of its current stock repurchase program to $11.2 billion). Currently, IBM’s $10.4 billion cash haul consists of $9.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents, plus $799 million in marketable securities. It carries $26.3 billion of long-term debt. “Since 2000, we have returned over $150 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases,” said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty in a statement.
At the midyear, Intel held $3.8 billion in cash and cash equivalents, plus $6.2 billion in short-term investments, bringing its cash haul to $10 billion. Its long-term debt is $13.4 billion. Intel, which has consistently raised its quarterly dividend over the last decade, bumped it from $0.21 to $0.225 per share in mid-2012. In 2005, Intel’s board authorized the repurchase of up to $45 billion in stock, and as of mid-2013, $4.2 billion of that amount remained available. The company has spent $90 billion on buybacks since its program began in 1990.
NetApp has a $5.1 billion pile of cash, including total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. Its long-term debt is $995 million. In May of this year, the storage vendor initiated a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share. At the same time, NetApp committed $1.6 billion to stock repurchases over the next three years (that’s in addition to the $1.4 billion that’s remaining in a prior buyback initiative).
After spending $970 million in cash to acquire Tumblr, Yahoo was still holding $4.2 billion in cash ($2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and $1.5 billion in short-term marketable securities) at the midyear. Yahoo’s board authorized a $5 billion share buyback program in 2012, of which $1.9 billion remains. Yahoo has no long-term debt, and it doesn’t pay dividends to shareholders.
Symantec has $3.8 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. It also has $2 billion in long-term debt. In June, Symantec paid its first dividend of $0.15 per share. Symantec’s board also authorized an additional $1 billion in stock buybacks beginning in fiscal 2014.
CA has $2.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents, along with $1.3 billion in long-term debt. In 2012, the company boosted its quarterly dividend fivefold, from $0.05 to $0.25 per share. In the most recent quarter, CA spent $53 million on buybacks, and the company is authorized to repurchase an additional $452 million of stock through the end of its 2014 fiscal year.
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