According to Apple expert Philip Elmer-DeWitt, writing today on Fortune’s Apple 2.0 blog, Apple has recently been spending billions of dollars buying up Apple shares. In fact, Elmer-DeWitt says that by his calculation, Apple spent a whopping $16 billion last quarter ($4 billion cash, $12 billion via the accelerated share repurchase program) on buying 36 million Apple shares for, on average, $444. To put into perspective what a massive investment this is, Elmer-DeWitt notes that you could buy Nokia or BlackBerry three times over with this sort of money. As Phone Arena states in its report on the same story, the purchase of 36 million of Apple's own shares by Apple is much more than the 10 million shares it was originally expected to repurchase, and is therefore an extremely significant move.
Elmer-DeWitt says that 22 million of the shares were retired in fiscal Q3, so Apple now has 908 million shares outstanding. The remaining shares will be retired in Q4.“One way to think of it,” said Asymco’s Horace Dediu in his Apple Q3 RY13 Review, “is this is Apple’s greatest acquisition ever.”
Source: Apple is snapping up shares of Apple as fast as it can - Apple 2.0 -Fortune Tech
Apple acquires a $16 billion stake in... Apple!