Who Owns Apple? – Founders and Shareholders

Who Owns Apple?

Who Owns Apple? – Apple Inc. was founded in April 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Initially, a business partnership, today, Apple Inc. is a multinational technology company with several subsidiaries. The world’s most valuable company (based on market capitalization), Apple sells a wide range of technology devices ranging from personal computers, smartphones, tablets, and wearables. The world’s largest technology company by revenue which reaches billions, Apple is also the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer. Apple has changed owners and has also changed names, known as Apple Computer Company from 1976-77 and Apple Computer, Inc. from 1977-2017. Maybe most popularly known for its flagship iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, Apple is rapidly growing and expanding its services by stepping into cloud service and streaming entertainment. 

As of July 2020, the net income of Apple is nearly $60 billion, along with a trailing 12-month revenue of $268.0 billion. The organization became public in the year 1980 and had notable success. In 2018, Apple became the first publicly traded organization in the US with over $1 trillion. Currently, the major shareholders include Arthur Levinson (Chairman), Tim Cook (CEO), Jeff Williams (COO), Vanguard Group Inc., BlackRock Inc. (BLK), and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A).

Founding and Going Public – Who Owns Apple?

When the Apple Computer Company was founded in 1976, its new launches were entirely funded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. On January 3, 1977, Wayne left his shares to his two partners, just twelve days after Apple Computer, Inc. Henceforth. Multimillionaire Mike Markkula provided funding, and the company saw an exponential rise in sales. Between the years 1977 to 1980, the corporation had an average annual growth rate of 533%. 

By the late 1970s, Apple was thriving and had a production line and a team of computer designs as staff. The company decided to go public in December 1980 and sold 4.6 million shares at $22 per share. This generated over $100 million, going down in history as the highest capital of an IPO since 1956, generated by the Ford Motor Company. Apple (ticker name AAPL) thus created 300 millionaires when it decided to go public.

Major Individual Insider Shareholders

  1. Arthur Levinson, Chairman

As of December 28, 2020, Arthur  Levinson, the corporation’s current chairman, owns over 4,592,140 shares of Apple stock. A former chair of Genentech Inc, a biotech company, Levinson is also a founder and current CEO of Calico, another biotech company. Levinson joined Apple in 2000 and assumed the position of co-lead director in 2005. He served in all the three board committees of Apple, namely, audit and finance, nominating and corporate governance, and compensation. On November 15, 2011, Levinson replaced Steve Jobs as the Chairman of the company.

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  1. Tim Cook

The current CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, owns 837,374 shares of Apple stock that roughly translate to 0.02% of all outstanding shares. Cook has been a part of the company since 1998 and was the chief operating officer, overseeing company sales and operations worldwide. Cook has been Apple’s chief executive officer since 2011, after Steve Jobs. Since he took the CEO position in 2020, he has succeeded in doubling the company’s profit and revenue. The company’s net worth has also exponentially increased from $348 billion to $1.9 trillion.

  1. Jeff Williams

As of December 28, 2020, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams owns 489,260 shares of Apple stock. After joining the company in 1998 as head of worldwide procurement, Williams was promoted to vice-president of Operations in 2004. The company’s COO since 2015, Williams oversees worldwide operations and also manages Apple’s health initiatives.

  1. Bruce Sewell

Apple’s former general counsel and senior vice president of Legal and Government Affairs, Bruce Sewell, currently owns 113,865 shares of Apple stock, marking him as one of the top individual shareowners. Sewell had joined Apple in September 2009 after leaving his position as Intel Corporation’s vice president and deputy general counsel. He remained a part of Apple Inc. till 2017 when Katherine Adams filled his position.

  1. Al Gore

Al Gore, former US Vice-President, is also one of the top shareholders of Apple. He currently owns 112,064 shares of Apple stock. As of February 2017, he sold over 215,437 stocks at a rate of $136.72 and was netted at over $29 million by the SEC. If he were to sell his remaining shares at the current price, which is $215.36, he could easily acquire nearly $25 million. He has been a member of Apple’s Board of Directors since 2003. The company’s CEO then was Steve Jobs, who had praised Gore’s “incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom” and welcomed him aboard with much gusto. Apple is Gore’s first private sector board to serve on.

While these are the individual shareholders who own shares in six-figure numbers, other individual shareholders of Apple own a significant portion of the company’s share. These include Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, Johnny Srouji with 78,468 shares of Apple stock; Apple’s former senior vice-president Angela Ahrendts who owns 77,739 shares of Apple stock; and Apple’s Chief Financial Officer and current senior vice-president Luca Maestri, who is the owner of 63,208 shares of Apple stock. 

Major Institutional Shareholders

  1. Vanguard Group Inc.

Vanguard Group Inc. owns 7.83% of total outstanding shares, which is the company’s largest share under one name. This percentage amounts to 1.3 billion shares of Apple stock as of December 28, 2020. With global assets worth $6.2 trillion, Vanguard is primarily a mutual fund and an ETF management company. One of the largest exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, amounting to $636 billion in net assets. Apple is the largest holding, comprising 6.7% of the VOO portfolio as of December 2020.

  1. BlackRock Inc.

BlackRock owns 6.60% of the total shares of Apple stock. This percentage translates to over 1.11 billion shares. The corporation is a mutual fund and an ETF management company and has $8.67 trillion in AUM as of December 31, 2020. One of BlackRock’s largest ETFs is the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF, with net assets worth more than $251 billion (as of February 05, 2021). Apple comprises 6.70% of the IVV portfolio, being the second-largest holding. 

  1. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway is currently the owner of more than 1 billion shares of Apple stock. This number of shares represents 5.96% of the total shares outstanding as of December 28, 2020. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is a diversified holding company led by billionaire Warren Buffett, having major investments in industries like gas, insurance, electrical utilities, railroads, etc. As of September 30, 2020, the company has reported over  $30 billion in earnings with equity securities worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Takeaway

Apple has gone through its own share of twists and turns as it changed ownership. When the company went public in 1980, Steve Jobs failed to recognize the ownership of some of the early Apple employees. Since Wozniak, who sold $10 million of his own shares to these employees, His own share in the company reduced significantly compared to Jobs. 

In 1985, Jobs was ousted from the company, and he sold his shares of Apple stock and invested in Pixar. He also took a few Apple employees with him to NeXT Inc. Jobs acquired 8% shares of Pixar when Disney acquired it. After Jobs’ death, part of the stock was liquidated, and since it was below 5%, it is now impossible to determine how many shares the Jobs trust currently owns. Like Jobs, Wozniak had also quit his employment at Apple in the same year as Jobs. He had been vocal about expressing his frustration with the company policies and Apple’s treatment of the Apple II division. Wozniak’s current net worth is over $100 million, and his share in Apple stock is below 5%, hence not required to be reported by law. 

Today, Apple is an international institution that is continuing its growth and is profiting immensely from it. The share price briefly reached $467.77 on August 19, 2020, and promptly made Apple the first US company to be on with a market capitalization of $2 trillion. Moreover, major shareholders are in a very secure position about owning assets as the net worth of Apple is bound to increase in the coming years with its products being at par with the technological innovation of our times. 

Who owns Apple? The answer to this question is simply that this corporation is owned by numerous shareholders, some of whom are individual insider shareholders like the vice-president, the chief executive officer, the chief operating officer, and the chief financial officer of the company. On the other hand, other shareholders include BlackRock Inc, Vanguard Group Inc, and Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., all of whom own over a billion shares of Apple stock. 

Who Owns Apple? – Founders and Shareholders

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