Billionaire investor Carl Icahn says that he will pursue a shareholder vote and has also filed a shareholder proposal for Apple to buy back its shares.
Apple, the world's most valuable company and the maker of iPhones and iPads, has a cash reserve of around $150 billion and Icahn suggests that the company should share some of its profits with shareholders. With the filing of the precatory, non-binding, shareholder proposal, Icahn wants shareholders to vote on whether Apple should spend its cash stockpile to buy back its own shares in the public market.
Icahn also points out that share buyback will also drive up the price of Apple shares and increase the value of holdings for its shareholders. Reports suggest that Icahn proposes Apple to use $50 billion to buy back its shares.
"Gave $AAPL notice we'll be making a precatory proposal to call for vote to increase buyback program, although not at $150 billion level," tweeted Icahn.
Gave $AAPL notice we’ll be making a precatory proposal to call for vote to increase buyback program, although not at $150 billion level.
— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) December 4, 2013
This is not the first time that Icahn has proposed a share buyback. Various reports suggests that Icahn, who holds around $2.67 billion worth of Apple's shares, has met Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) several times this year, including at a dinner at Icahn's New York apartment, and put forward his proposal to buy back shares.
"A lot of people say Steve Jobs probably wouldn't have talked to me, and maybe that's true," said Icahn to TIME. "But I think he [Cook] found our conversation sort of interesting. He said, 'Look, you've accomplished a lot, and we want to listen to you.'"
In the past, Apple had authorized a share buyback program. In March 2012, the company announced share buyback of $10 billion and in April 2013, Apple extended it to an additional $50 billion. Apple usually has an annual shareholders meeting in February. The company has also confirmed that as part of its regular review process, any changes to the current capital return program will be announced in the first part of 2014, probably at the shareholder's meeting in February 2014.
Apple's shares have seen lots of ups and down from 2012. In September 2012, the company's shares reached its peak and crossed the $700 mark. However, since then, the company's shares just kept on dropping and in April 2013, its shares hit below $400. Apple's shares have slowly recovered and are now trading above $555.
"Apple is not a bank" said Icahn in an interview and also said that he is not unhappy with Apple's management but thinks that the company has too much cash and they should use it.