In addition to a barrage of Tweets all through the day, Icahn has sent a seven page letter to Apple shareholders discussing why a stock buyback authorized by the Apple board of directors should be markedly increased. Icahn is certainly putting his money where his mouth is, he mentioned in a recent Tweet that he bought an additional $500 million of Apple stock today, bringing his portfolio total to $3.6 billion. That still makes his ownership portion only a tiny part of the consumer electronics giant
Icahn has said over and over how much he admires the technology giant, and that buying stock since the $468 level is what he calls a “no brainer”. Using Twitter keeps the heat on the company, and gives Icahn the positive activist cloak he often seeks. Icahn is no stranger to shareholder activism. His well documented on-air CNBC battle with Bill Ackman over Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) has become legendary.
Investors can expect more of the same from Carl Icahn if there is not some sort of acknowledgment from CEO Tim Cook and the Apple board on his demands. The main reason Icahn is pursuing Apple to distribute capital back to shareholders is the company is holding a gigantic cash reserve of a reported $150 billion. Carl Icahn thinks a good chunk of that needs to be returned to investors.
On the other side of debate, the Apple board learned a long time ago from Steve Jobs, that ignoring investors works if financial results are good enough. But, will Apple’s be?