Sign up now to get free exclusive access to reports, research and invitation only events.
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.