Apple has raised less money in its entire 4-decade lifespan than most of today’s startups.
In 1980, Apple (AAPL) raised $97M in an IPO. In 1997, Apple received a $150M investment from Microsoft. Apple hasn’t seen a dime of outside investment beyond that. The AAPL shares in your Roth IRA? You bought that from a secondary trader on NASDAQ, who bought them from someone else who paid Apple 0.4% of your purchase price.
With only $247M in outside investment, Apple bootstrapped itself to become the second most profitable company in America (behind Exxon Mobil). To be fair, $247M was a lot of money back then. But Uber and Box and their billion-dollar rounds can’t even touch that.
What more, AAPL has given so much more than it’s received. To date, it has issued $21.8B in cash dividends and spent $52.8B on buybacks.
Why is Apple so generous to shareholders who have given it so little? It’s not AAPL’s job to prop up Carl Icahn’s net worth, or to provide for everyone’s retirement fund.
Apple only cares about its share price because its board and employees receive some compensation in stock options, and share prices can lead to more favorable terms for debt financing*. Also I guess they don’t want to look like a cheap acquihire target for Yahoo or Facebook or something.
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.
*Apple issued $12B in corporate bonds this year. They have $151B in cash, but it’s cheaper for them to borrow money at low interest rates than to pay taxes to bring the cash back from overseas.
Why Do Companies Care About Their Stock Prices? –Investopedia