Activist investor attempts to make Apple boost stock buyback

Carl Icahn proposed a $50 million buyback plan for the tech giant's shareholders, according to CNBC

By Adam Satariano

Published December 4, 2013 9:40PM (EST)

                            (AP/Lukas Barth)
(AP/Lukas Barth)

Activist investor Carl Icahn said he will pursue a shareholder vote to force Apple Inc. to boost its stock buyback plan.

The precatory proposal will be for less than the $150 billion he had been advocating, Icahn said in a post on Twitter. He will propose a $50 billion buyback, CNBC reported.

Icahn, who has become a billionaire by buying stakes in companies and then publicly pushing for changes that boost the stock, has since August been urging Apple to increase the size of its buyback program, even though the company earlier this year initiated one of the biggest programs among U.S. companies. Icahn disclosed in a filing today that he owns 4.7 million Apple shares, or about 0.5 percent of the iPhone maker.

Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Icahn isn’t the first activist investor to urge Cupertino, California-based Apple to return more money to shareholders. Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn also has pressured Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to use more of the company’s almost $150 billion in cash and investments to reward investors.

After years of spurning investor calls to implement a dividend or buyback, Apple has changed tack. It has returned $36 billion to shareholders since 2012, the company said last month.

Since Icahn disclosed on Aug. 13 that he owns Apple shares, the stock has increased 16 percent, as of yesterday’s close. Apple was little changed today at $564.64 at 3:26 p.m. in New York.

--Editors: Pui-Wing Tam, Jillian Ward

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net


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