Greenlight Capital is chatting to Apple investors today in a conference call aimed at gathering support for its campaign — and lawsuit — to stop Apple’s attempt to kill preferred stock.
And to tell investors why each Apple shareholder should get perpetual preferred stock, for free.
Preferred stock is simply stock that, when it comes to payments of any dividends or other benefits, is first in line. Apple is attempting to change a rule in its charter which Greenlight’s David Einhorn has interpreted as eliminating preferred stock, although Apple has denied that charge, and CEO Tim Cook has called the Greenlight lawsuit a “silly sideshow.”
Greenlight is suing Apple to force the company to “unbundle” three proposed charter changes which are being presented as a package, saying that SEC rules prohibit grouping of proposals which must be voted on together.
One thing that’s unclear to me: the Greenlight lawsuit and shareholder campaign is, ostensibly, about “unlocking significant value for all shareholders.” Einhorn obviously wants an acceleration of Apple’s dividend program, which is already committed to returning $45 billion to shareholders’ pockets over the next few years.
That sounds good, but it’s hard to know how you can give everyone preferred shares. After all, if everyone’s special, no-one’s special. Right?
Here’s the announcement from Greenlight Capital, with all the conference details:
Greenlight Capital, Inc. (“Greenlight”), a value oriented, research-driven investment management firm, today announced that it will host a public conference call and webcast to discuss Apple Inc.’s (NasdaqGS: AAPL) capital allocation strategy and Greenlight’s proposal to unlock significant value for all shareholders. Greenlight continues to ask shareholders to vote AGAINST Proposal 2 in Apple’s proxy, which would eliminate preferred stock from Apple’s charter and restrict the Board’s flexibility on capital allocation decisions. On the call, Greenlight will provide additional details regarding the options available to Apple, including the merits of Greenlight’s suggestion of distributing perpetual preferred stock to Apple shareholders for free.
The conference call and webcast will take place on February 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The conference call may be accessed by dialing 1-800-901-5241 (U.S. callers) or 1-617-786-2963 (International callers) and entering the passcode 62063868#. Those who intend to participate in the call should dial in at least 20 minutes in advance. A replay of the call will be available through March 6, 2013 by dialing 1-888-286-8010 (U.S. callers) or 1-617-801-6888 (International callers) and entering the passcode 45128663#. The webcast can be accessed by visiting www.media-server.com/m/p/aj2p6kq7.