“Apple isn’t stupid. They know that the business is at non-trivial long-term risk, and I believe that is why the company continues to stash away such a large portion of its free cash flow as cash on the balance sheet… While I’m not of the opinion that Apple will need that money to stave off bankruptcy, and I certainly believe Apple will continue to be quite profitable, but if profitability contracts, then the best hope for the longs will be a massive pile of cash on the balance sheet in order to prop up the valuation,” Eassa writes. “This would give Apple the power to make riskier acquisitions, invest in organic initiatives to try to restore growth, and generally keep the stock price propped up. As an investor that likes to make bets on beaten down but cash rich names, I can tell you that many people like me salivate at the notion of real, cash-backed valuation support.”
Eassa writes, “That being said, I think that Apple’s massive free cash flow should allow it to pay a bigger dividend than it currently does, and it is in this respect that I agree with guys like David Einhorn. This is a stock that needs to be yielding ~3-3.5% in order to become truly interesting to the dividend (growth) guys.”
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