Icahn was a huge cheerleader of Apple, acquiring a stake in the company almost three years ago, repeatedly calling the investment a “no brainer.”
He owned 45.8 million Apple shares at the end of last year, but thinks that China’s economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business triggered his decision to exit his position entirely.
“We no longer have a position in Apple. Tim Cook did a great job. I called him this morning to tell him that and he was a little sorry, obviously. But I told him it’s a great company,” Icahn said.
He thinks the Chinese government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there … You can do pretty much what you want there,” Icahn said.
Earlier this month, China shut down Apple’s iTunes movies and iBooks stores within the country, following Beijing’s introduction of regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.
Icahn made roughly $2 billion off the Apple trade so he is laughing all the way to the bank anway.
Apple on Tuesday posted its first decline in iPhone sales as well as its first revenue drop in 13 years. The company’s sales fell by more than a quarter in China, its most important market after the United States, and it forecast another disappointing quarter for global revenues.
Apple shares have now declined more than 10 percent this week.