World Biz  |  FEBRUARY 13, 2013 8:01AM

Apple will consider preferred stock plan

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San Francisco – Apple will consider an activist shareholder plan to issue 50 billion dollars’ worth of preferred stock that would pay a 4 percent annual dividend, company head Tim Cook said Tuesday.

Cook’s comments at an investor conference came days after Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn called for the new shares and sued the company. The suit aimed to block a proposal that would prevent the issuance of preferred stock without shareholder approval.

Cook called the suit “a silly sideshow,” according to Bloomberg News, but said that the basic proposal warranted further consideration.

“We welcome all ideas from all of our shareholders, including Greenlight, and we’re going to seriously consider it,” Cook said. “The management team and the board are in very active discussions.”

Apple’s strong profits from sales of iPhone and iPad devices in recent years have seen it amass a cash hoard of an estimated 137 billion dollars, which many of its investors want to see dispersed or used to purchase other companies that could spur further growth.

Apple’s stock had plummeted in recent months as the sales growth of its iPhones and iPads slows amid increased competition from Samsung and other companies.

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