No doubt, it’s the kind of problem all of us wouldn’t mind having: If you had tens of billions of dollars in cash lying around, what would you do? That’s the question that has loomed large over Apple, which, as of the end of last year, holds a cash balance amounting to $97.6 billion. And now, it appears that the Cupertino-based company has finally decided what to do with all that money.
In an unexpected press release, Apple announced that it is now ready to disclose the outcome of a discussion by its board about what to do with the pile of cash it has accumulated. The company will make its plans known to the press and to the public via a conference call.
The conference call will focus on the cash issue alone. In the announcement, Apple stated that it will not be providing any update on its performance in the current quarter nor will it entertain any questions about other topics. The conference call will be hosted by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and it will be held on Monday, March 19, at 6 a.m. Pacific/9 a.m. Eastern time. Apple will also be providing a webcast channel for a live audio streaming of the call, a recording of which will be available for replay after a couple of weeks.
Industry pundits say that one of the most probable plans for Apple’s cash balance is the issuance of dividends to the company’s shareholders. Another is the acquisition of a smaller but viable company, as it did with its recent purchase of App Store search engine Chomp. But what do you think is Apple planning to do with that much cash? An Apple theme park, perhaps? That would be really cool.