Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced it will buy back as many as $10 billion worth of shares now and plans to pay an initial dividend of $2.65 a share later this year.
The technology company disclosed its share-buyback program before U.S. markets opened and a conference call at 9 a.m. EDT with Chief Executive Tim Cook and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., has been under pressure to announce plans for its cash and investments, which exceeded $97.6 billion at the end of the company's first fiscal quarter in December.
Cook said Apple, valued at $546 billion, plans to tap about $45 billion of cash domestically through 2015 to reward investors. Other cash may be used for acquisitions, adding to the computer and electronics developer's retail stores, now exceeding 340, and other initiatives. Most of Apple's cash is outside the United States and subject to tax rules that impose high fees on repatriation.
Apple said it plans to start paying the dividend in its fourth quarter.
The company has 932 million outstanding shares, so the fourth-quarter outlay alone could run as much as $2.47 billion. Other technology companies including Helwett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) have long paid dividends and bought back their own shares.
Apple shares rose $15.53 to close at a record $600.10, up 2.65 percent on Monday. The stock briefly hit $600.01 last week.