Icahn gives up on Apple

Investor Carl Icahn has backed off from his cunning plan to force Apple to increase its stock buybacks.

Icahn said that the fruit themed cargo cult was already starting to buy back its shares, which was what he wanted. An influential proxy advisor’s called for shareholders to ignore his proposal.

In a letter to Apple shareholders, Icahn wrote he was ditching his non-binding proposal to force Apple to add another $50 billion to its stock buyback plan, “especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target”.

Icahn had been asking Apple to boost its stock buyback programme, proposing the iPhone maker invest its cash pile in collecting more than $50 billion shares to boost the price. Institutional Shareholder Services recommended shareholders vote against Icahn’s nonbinding proposal, saying the motion would “micromanage” how the company uses capital.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said he wanted to be “aggressive” and “opportunistic” in buying back shares. He pointed out the company had repurchased $14 billion in stock in the two weeks since reporting financial results that hacked off Wall Street.

Buying stock is an easier way of boosting share price without having to make any new products or have any new plans or ideas. They are pretty cheap at the moment too, thanks to the fact that profits at the cargo cult have been shrinking and the outfit has failed to make any money in China.

With the latest purchases, Cook recently said Apple had bought back more than $40 billion of its shares over the past year. He said it was a record for any company over a similar span.

Icahn wrote in his open letter that Apple’s recent share buybacks, amongst the largest in history, have been a bit like “bailing with a leaky bucket,” given the scale of its cash reserves – though they were enough to placate him.