Apple Dividend Likely This Year

IPhone maker seen returning part of its $98 bln in cash to investors.

Apple Inc., approaching a $500 billion market capitalization, will probably start paying a dividend this year, attempting to appease investors who have said the electronics maker is hoarding too much cash.

The company is likely to declare a quarterly dividend of about $2 a share before the year is out, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The projections are based in part on the dividends paid by other large technology providers, including Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.

Investors’ Potential Benefit

A $2-a-quarter dividend would mean hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for Apple’s top institutional investors.

Overseas Accounts

Still, the amount of cash that Apple can use for dividend payments is limited because the company keeps about 60 percent of its money in overseas accounts. Apple’s taxes were almost $4 billion lower in fiscal 2011 than if it had reported all income was earned in the U.S., Nissim said. And Apple could ultimately issue a dividend bigger or smaller than $2 a share, or decide not to declare a quarterly payout.

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