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Apple to reveal plans on Monday for $97.6bn cash hoard

Dividends expected – but what else?

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Apple released a brief announcement late Sunday afternoon, Cupertino time, that it would hold a conference call and webcast on Monday morning to talk about plans for its jumbo, humongous, Brobdingnagian, elephantine, and gargantuan cash hoard.

That pile of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities sat at $97.6bn as of the end of Apple's last fiscal quarter. And seeing as how the Top-10 hits just keep on a-comin' for those top-of-the-pop-crop Cupertinian stylists, there's no reason to believe that Apple's cash holdings will shrink when the company makes its next SEC-required financial disclosure in late April or early May.

When announcing Monday's conference call, Apple noted that it would be hosted by Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and that it would "announce the outcome of the Company’s discussions concerning its cash balance."

That announcement also noted – in accordance with investor niceties, and possibly to quash any speculation that guidance for the current quarter might be adjusted – that "Apple will not be providing an update on the current quarter nor will any topics be discussed other than cash."

One assumes that at least one focus – and perhaps the major one – of Cook and Oppenheimer's announcements will be a cash dividend for stockholders, a move that Cook's late boss, Steve Jobs, was not keen on. When Apple's stock hit $500 per share at the end of last month, for example, Bloomberg predicted that Apple would distribute $7bn in dividends this year – a quarterly dividend of about $2 a share.

We'll see. Other possibilities include acquisitions, and maybe even – don't hold your breath – the establishment of an Apple Foundation philanthropic arm. After all, eleemosynary-minded Cook is known to believe in public philanthropy more than did Jobs.

But we'll find out on Monday. The conference call will be held at 6am Cupertino time – an ungodly hour for us denizens of Vulture Annex here in San Francisco, some 45 miles north of One Infinite Loop – but we'll catch it and fill you in.

Stay tuned – especially if you own some Apple stock. ®

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