Apple Stock Soars As Icahn Buys 'Large' Stake
Activist investor Carl Icahn has bought a large stake in Apple and says the world's most valuable company should be doing more to revive its stock price.
The often outspoken billionaire, renowned for pouncing on out-of-favour shares, signalled he had Apple in his sights in messages posted on his Twitter account.
The posts announced he had acquired a big but unspecified stake in Apple and that he had just had a "nice conversation" with Apple CEO Tim Cook about his belief that the maker of the iPhone and iPad should be using even more of its $147bn (£95.2bn) cash pile to buy back its own stock as soon as possible.
Just buying a 1% stake in Apple would cost more than $4bn, based on the current price of Apple's stock.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling described Icahn's discussion with Cook as positive, but declined to elaborate.
"We appreciate the interest and investment of all our shareholders," Dowling said.
News of Icahn's investment helped Apple's market value rise by about $13bn (£8.4bn).
Apple had already been trying to lift its stock price under a programme it adopted earlier this year under pressure from another activist shareholder, hedge fund manager David Einhorn.
In April, Apple pledged to spend $60bn (£39bn) buying back its stock by the end of 2015 as a way to return some of its cash to shareholders.
About $18bn of that has already been completed.
Icahn thinks Apple should be pouring even more money into its stock because he believes the shares are worth more than most investors currently believe, according to his tweets.
Despite a recent upturn that has re-established Apple as the world's most valuable company, its stock remains 30% below its peak of $705.07 nearly 11 months ago.
The price slump is blamed on the slowdown in growth at Apple as earnings are squeezed by tougher competition in the smartphone and tablet computer markets.
Icahn, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine at $20bn, has a string of high profile investments, including stakes collectively worth billions of dollars in Dell and Netflix, the internet video service.
He is currently embroiled in a row with Dell over its future by attempting to block founder Michael Dell's $25bn effort to take the computer firm private.