Einhorn’s Apple Activism: Unlock Several Hundred Billion Dollars in Shareholder Value

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David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital has taken a move against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) in an Securities and Exchange Commission filing, and he is trying to drum up shareholder support from the outside while engaging the company from the inside. His stake is more than 1 million shares as of his last holdings filing date. Greenlight is dissatisfied with Apple’s capital allocation strategy. Einhorn previously demonstrated that Apple could unlock several hundred billion dollars of shareholder value by distributing a perpetual preferred stock to existing shareholders.

Einhorn’s filing is urging fellow shareholders of Apple to oppose the company’s attempt to amend its corporate charter. Greenlight is voting against Proposal 2 in Apple’s proxy, which would eliminate preferred stock from Apple’s charter and thus restrict the board’s ability to unlock the value on Apple’s balance sheet. Greenlight is asking all holders to also vote against Proposal 2 at the upcoming Apple shareholder annual meeting, which will be held on February 27, 2013.

Einhorn was quoted:

We believe Apple must examine all of its options to unlock the growing value of its balance sheet for all shareholders. Over the past several months, we have had an ongoing dialogue with Apple regarding one option to do so, namely the creation of a new security, a perpetual preferred stock that would be distributed at no cost to Apple’s existing shareholders, and would provide an attractive, sustainable dividend while preserving Apple’s financial resources to pursue its business strategy.

CNBC just hosted a telephone call with David Einhorn who laid out his case. Some activist investors lay out solid cases. Even if Einhorn ends up effecting change here, is there a reason he sounded like such a whiner?

Apple shares are up another 1.5% at $464.85 this morning, against a 52-week range of $435.00 to $705.07.

FULL SEC FILING

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