Carl Icahn only wants one thing from Apple

Tim cookREUTERS/Lucy NicholsonTim Cook: ‘That’s it?’

There’s been some drama surrounding activist hedge fund investor Carl Icahn and his considerable (~$US6.8 billion) stake in Apple.

On Monday, Icahn published a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and argued that the stock was worth $US240 per share. Shares were trading near $US130 on Tuesday.

And while there has been a bit of a to-do about Icahn’s assertions regarding Apple’s potential to make a TV, or a car, Icahn revealed to CNBC’s Scott Wapner on Tuesday the only thing he actually wants from the company. Which is basically the only thing he’s ever wanted from Apple.

“We put this letter out for one purpose, Scott, to get the company to buy back more stock,” Icahn said. “The one thing I disagree with the company on is not buying a great deal more stock here … that’s all I’m saying.”

Icahn added that he is not publishing these letters to recommend stocks to investors, but simply to point out what he thinks is a “no-brainer” for the company. Namely, with around $US190 billion in cash, Icahn thinks Apple should be buying back more stock.

The economic argument for buying back stock is that it increases earnings per share because when a company buys back its own stock, you reduce the denominator for calculating earnings (earnings per share are earnings divided by shares outstanding).

And as for what Icahn is saying to the company aside from his letters, Icahn told Wapner, “Look I am certainly not going to talk to you about what I say to Tim Cook.”

Icahn revealed, however, that as one of the company’s shareholders, he does talk to Cook from time to time.

Icahn added that he thinks Cook, Apple’s board, and its management is doing a “great job.”

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