By Dow Jones Business News, October 01, 2013, 01:51:00 PM EDT
By Ben Fox Rubin
Activist investor Carl Icahn said he pressed Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) Chief Executive Tim Cook to more than double the
company's stock buyback program to $150 billion during a dinner meeting at his apartment.
Mr. Icahn later added in an interview on CNBC that he has increased his stake in Apple in recent weeks and now holds
about $2 billion in stock, up from an earlier investment reported to be worth about $1.5 billion.
As for the buyback, Mr. Icahn said Mr. Cook couldn't yet provide an answer and needed to first discuss the matter with
his board. The parties plan to meet again in about three weeks.
Shares of Apple, which has a market value of about $433 billion, were up 2.4% at $488.15 in recent trading but are
still down 8.3% so far this year.
"I can't promise you the stock will go up. I can't promise you that they're going do the buyback," Mr. Icahn said on
CNBC. "What I can promise you is that I'm not going away before they hear a lot more from me concerning this."
A representative from Apple wasn't immediately available for comment.
In his tweet Tuesday morning, Mr. Icahn said: "Had a cordial dinner with Tim last night. We pushed hard for a 150
billion buyback. We decided to continue dialogue in about three weeks."
The dinner was held at Mr. Icahn's apartment, where over the past decade he said he has hosted many chief executives
who have run companies in which he was actively investing. The meeting ran longer than expected, from around 7 p.m. to
about 10:30 p.m., past Mr. Cook's bedtime, Mr. Icahn joked. But he declined to discuss the menu.
Apple in April increased its share buyback authorization to $60 billion from the $10 billion announced last year. Some
investors, including David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital Inc., have called for the company to give more money back to
holders because of its huge cash position, which stood at $146.6 billion at June 29.
On CNBC, Mr. Icahn repeatedly said Apple had a "golden opportunity" to borrow money at a low rate to fund the buyback
plan, comparing the chance to Verizon Communications Inc.'s (VZ) record $49 billion bond sale last month, and said such
a buyback plan at Apple's current stock price is "a no-brainer."
He separately said he hasn't sold any of his stake in Netflix Inc. ( NFLX ), an investment that has netted him about $1
billion in less than a year.
Mr. Icahn first made public comments about Apple in August when he revealed that he had taken a "large" position in
the company and was pressing it to buy back shares. In a later tweet, he said he was planning to meet Mr. Cook in
September, adding, "Tim believes in buyback and is doing one. What will be discussed is magnitude."
Mr. Icahn's next steps have remained unclear. His typical investment playbook involves buying a large chunk of a
company stock and agitating for changes to the company's management, how they use cash or other strategies he believes
will boost stock prices.
He also is known for picking fights with executives and directors of companies he believes aren't acting in the
interests of shareholders. So far, both Mr. Icahn and Apple said the talks were amicable.
Mr. Icahn said that as soon as next week he will launch a new activist investor website to discuss stocks he is
investing in, corporate governance issues and business insights and commentary. The specific name of the site hasn't yet
Write to Ben Fox Rubin at email@example.com
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