Cramer: Apple Should Let Einhorn Talk
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Debra Borchardt: With friends like these, who needs enemies? Jim, David Einhorn, Greenlight, is suing Apple (AAPL). He loved Apple. He was a huge Apple supporter. Now he's saying, you know what . . . you got too much cash.
Jim Cramer: Right. Well, I find that this is a discussion that occurs when a stock is going down, not when it's going up. Obviously the stock I think is a little depressed because of the huge cash position with no clear demonstration that it can be put to work to help the shareholders although we don't know, they put in the dividend. You could always say maybe they'll raise it. I think that he's a very honest good guy. For him to come forward and say look, here's a solution or here is an option and then it suddenly gets on the proxy as being something that they deliberately want to block is very in your face and spiteful.
We don't know what's really going on. We know that Einhorn has been a responsible investor. You always have the option of selling the stock. Steve Jobs had said over and over again that as long as the products are great everything takes care of itself. This is an embarrassment of riches that they have all this money. They haven't made acquisitions that I thought could help them, but you could argue pro and con on all these.
So, this is a very complicated issue, but it does cut to how shareholder friendly Apple really is. I think that in Apple's defense, it's made you a fortune and Apple didn't take the stock to $700.Debra Borchardt: Yes they are sitting on a lot of cash. People do think that they should put it to use. Is that such a bad thing for a company to be conservative and hoard cash? Maybe they're going to have some big huge project coming up that they need the money for. Jim Cramer: Well, that could be. One of the things that Einhorn says is that they have a depression mentality. Who knows what could go wrong? That's interesting. I have a depression mentality. I think about this same thing. I have maybe a more conservative nature.
So, I guess to me this is an intellectual exercise first of all. He's not going to have any affect. This is not going to happen. Debra Borchardt: There was some criticism that he was doing it for publicity, that he's a publicity hound. Jim Cramer: I don't think he is. I think he's very good. He said it's the most he's ever had of Apple. He does make a very good point, which is that if they were to return more capital to shareholders, the stock would be higher. I come back and say, had they executed properly the stock would be higher. In other words, if they had a better-than-expected quarter and they didn't, they've missed a couple of quarters, if they didn't guide down more they wouldn't and if they had come up with better products . . . but at the same time you can argue, what do you need to accomplish? Yes they have to get their multiple higher. Well, the market determines the multiple not the company. Debra Borchardt: That's correct. You can always ask any CEO about their stock's market price and they're going to go, "Look, I don't have any control over that." Jim Cramer: I just think that again, it's a parlor game to play this. They're not going to do anything. We know that they're about to have a meeting. Maybe their reaction is . . . maybe the reason is, OK well we hear that people are upset, but that's never been Apple's way. If people are upset with the products, that's been an issue, but people upset with the stock price, for a stock that's created more wealth than any stock in my lifetime, I question whether they need to feel as urgent as other companies. Debra Borchardt: It's not normal for a stock to be on an upward trajectory forever. At some point it's got to pull back, it gets exhausted, fatigue settles in and a stock will naturally pull back. Then you can push it ahead. Jim Cramer: If the Federal Reserve were to raise rates they'd be earning more money on it. If the tax code were changed, that they could bring the money back with out paying a big amount of tax they could do something. You could argue, well, wait a second: So, much of this is kept offshore that perhaps they'd be waiting for a change in the tax code. If they rush that, that will be a big mistake. Now, in Einhorn's defense he's not talking about that. He's saying, "Look, this is a new way to be able to generate a return." He's not saying that they have to repatriate capital. So, in a lot of ways, what he's doing is offering a sound idea and to see it on the proxy as something that shouldn't be considered is kind of in your face at least to Einhorn. Debra Borchardt: Ultimately . . . it doesn't seem like Apple has any history of responding to stock prices. Jim Cramer: No. They respond to product. Debra Borchardt: Product. So, this is just... Jim Cramer: And it's been a great performer. If you got in at $700 you're angry. If you got in at $200, like at Action Alerts, we're not angry. We're not angry. Debra Borchardt: At this point, Apple's stock price is really a reflection of the product and market fatigue, not so much their cash levels. Jim Cramer: Although they could do . . . obviously people are disturbed that they have such a big cash position that's not doing anything. Now, when the stock goes through the cash position, I've always felt -- be careful when you buy back stock. Sometimes stocks are too high. That's another way to look at... Debra Borchardt: OK. So, ultimately it's a nice idea, but it's not going to happen. Jim Cramer: It certainly was meritable, it would merit discussion. They're asking for closed door on the discussion, that seems wrong to me. Debra Borchardt: OK. So there you go. It's a good discussion, but probably won't happen in Apple's future. -- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York
To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt. Follow @WallandBroad
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