Icahn backs down on Apple buyback crusade

By Peter Gothard
11 Feb 2014 View Comments
Carl Icahn

Activist investor Carl Icahn seems to have abandoned his campaign to pressure Apple into increasing its stock buyback, following recommendations to shareholders from Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. that he should be ignored.

Proxy advisory firm Egan-Jones also advised against voting for Icahn's $50bn buyback idea.

Further reading

Icahn has been laying the pressure on Apple since August 2013, originally asking CEO Tim Cook to raise the company's original $100bn buyback scheme, as he believed it to be "extremely undervalued".

He believed that raising the buyback to $150bn could increase Apple's value to up to $700 a share.

The ISS advised shareholders on Sunday to vote against Icahn's argument for a $50bn raise by saying the action would "micromanage" how Apple uses capital.

By Monday, Icahn had penned a letter to Apple shareholders, citing the fact that the company "is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target".

Icahn's letter echoed Apple CEO Cook's recent statements about buying back shares, writing:

"As Tim Cook describes them, these recent actions taken by the company to repurchase shares have been both 'opportunistic' and 'aggressive' and we are supportive".

This refers to a statement Cook made recently in which he revealed more than $40bn of shares have already been bought back in the past 12 months which, though Icahn still described the process as "bailing with a leaky bucket", seems enough to satisfy him for now.

Icahn was also forced, in September 2013, to give up his part in a furious bidding war to buy out the Dell company, with victory eventually coming to company founder Michael Dell.

Apple shares closed at $528.99 yesterday, a 1.8 per cent increase on the day.

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