Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) chief executive Tim Cook called the ongoing lawsuit proceedings versus Greenlight Capital a silly sideshow to larger capital allocation discussions, adding that the proposal being opposed by the hedge fund had been designed for the benefit of shareholders.
“I find it bizarre we find ourselves being sued for doing something that’s good for shareholders,” Cook said while answering a question during the Goldman Sachs technology conference on Tuesday. “It’s a silly sideshow, honestly … This is a waste of shareholder money, it’s a distraction, and it’s not a seminal issue for Apple.”
Cook added that while he was personally planning to vote in favor of the proposal during the company’s annual shareholders meeting on February 27, the larger issue was about the rights of shareholders. “It’s not about whether Apple returns additional cash to shareholders, it’s not about how much cash to return to shareholders, it’s not about any of those things,” he said. “We feel so strongly for Apple that shareholders should approve any issuance of preferred stock.”
The Apple chief executive repeated the sentiment expressed in the company’s statement from last week that it was serious about returning money to investors. “The serious issue on hand is the return of cash: how to do it, how much to do, and we’re very serious about that,” he said. “The management team and the board are in very active discussions. That’s what our shareholders want.”
According to Cook, the company considered its large cash holdings and free cash flow “an incredible privilege.”