The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 7, 2013

Investor sues Apple, wants more cash

(Continued)

The slowing growth has scared away investors who focus on fast-growing companies, and the relatively small dividend means the company doesn't get much respect from investors who look for regular income, analysts say.

Greenlight, a shareholder since 2010 with 1.3 million Apple shares worth nearly $600 million, wants Apple to create a class of preferred stock that carries a higher dividend, and give it away to current shareholders. That way, he believes the company would appeal to value investors and those who are risk-averse.

Einhorn said his firm has been talking to Apple over the past several months about the creation of the new share class. Apple, he said, rejected the idea in September. The company doesn't currently issue preferred stock. At its annual meeting on Feb. 27, it plans to ask shareholders to approve a measure that would force the board to get shareholder approval before issuing preferred shares.

Apple said in its proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its board does not plan to issue preferred stock in the future and believes it is "appropriate" to eliminate the possibility from its charter.

Greenlight urges Apple shareholders to vote against the proposal. In the lawsuit, it claims that the proposal bundles three distinct proposals that the SEC requires to be separated so shareholders can vote on each one.

In its statement, Apple said that even if the proposal passes, it could still adopt Greenlight's concept and issue preferred stock.

Apple has at least one major shareholder on its side. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the country's largest pension fund, said in an SEC filing Monday that it will vote for Apple's proposal, which would also let shareholders vote against directors. CalPERS owns 2.7 million Apple shares, nearly three times as many as Greenlight.

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