Say what you want about the tech sector, but it's never boring. Any given week will keep tech investors flooded with product announcements, earnings surprises, and crazy strategy shifts that absolutely nobody saw coming.
These are three of the most shocking pieces of tech news this week.
1. iPrefs Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is sitting on a $137 billion pile of cash, and plenty of outsiders want to give the company some helpful advice on what to do with it. Hedge fund Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn goes the extra mile.
Einhorn recently filed a federal lawsuit to stop Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from making it harder to issue preferred stock. This week, he held a press conference (!) to explain why this is a good idea. Not only that, but he also came up with a catchy new name for a pretty basic financial instrument.
His so-called iPrefs would be bite-sized preferred share companions to regular Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares. They'd trade close to their $50 face value on the open market and would be tied to a perpetual 4% dividend yield.
This way, Apple investors could choose to buy regular shares for capital appreciation or iPrefs for a meaty yield. Income investors don't have to compromise their investments with share-price concerns, growth and value traders wouldn't worry about a static and largely separate dividend-focused issue, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) gets to offer bond-like investment vehicles that are actually equities, not debt. Everybody wins, and Einhorn expects the plan to boost Apple's total value by $150 per common share.
The lawsuit looks like a smokescreen, more of a spotlight grabber than an actual business move. That iPrefs moniker only underscores just how media-friendly Einhorn is trying to be. That said, Einhorn had his day in court and shareholders won't get to vote on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s blank-check preferred-stock policy this time.
I don't expect Apple to adopt Einhorn's iPrefs, but the media fireworks are pretty entertaining. Coining new terms for familiar concepts keeps English alive! Feel free to keep pushing Cupertino, Mr. Einhorn.
HP met Wall Street's revenue targets and crushed earnings estimates. Mind you, the bar was set pretty low. Sales fell 6% year over year, and only the oft-forgotten financial-services arm delivered any growth at all. Earnings also shrank 11% despite CEO Meg Whitman's best efforts at cost controls and synergy hunting.