Carl Icahn was on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” with Scott Wapner going over his recent dinner with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Wapner, as usual, got right down to business and asked Icahn how it went.
“We had dinner at my apartment with a bunch of CEOs.” said Icahn. “We had a commonality, we know the technology world. But the conversation revolved around the buyback, we pushed quite hard for it.”
Like Icahn said before, he thinks an Apple buyback is a “no brainer.”
“It makes no sense for this company with their multiples … not to do a major buyback,” said Icahn. “And there’s another thing I mentioned … the fact that you can borrow money so cheaply today. I don’t know when we’ll see this again. … Apple can borrow money and buy stock at such a low valuation.”
Wapner took in Icahn’s argument and said, basically, fine — your argument’s good, but what did Cook think?
Cook’s opinion is, after all, what matters, but Icahn’s response kicked the blame to the board, saying [most boards] are “spoiled people” who don’t care about shareholders.
After that, he admitted that when he brought the buyback up, the meeting might have gotten “a little bit testy.”
“The board is not appointed by God. They don’t have the divine right of kings,” Icahn added.
Wapner kept at him. “Your use of the word ‘cordial'” suggested that things didn’t go as Icahn planned, Wapner pushed. “Did you leave the meeting thinking that they would continue to entertain the idea that you brought forward?” he asked.
Icahn reiterated his points and said, “We will continue the discussion and the dialogue. … I can promise you that I’m not going away before they hear a lot more from me concerning this.”
Wapner then asked Icahn if he would consider a proxy fight, to which Icahn responded, “Are you asking me to make threats on TV?” Without missing a beat he went on again about the importance of Tim Cook’s independence and the problematic nature of corporate America’s board structure.
It’s obvious Icahn feels very strongly about this buyback, and he said it time and time again. He also said that he had more options (though he didn’t elaborate on what they were).
What’s more, Icahn is clearly on a major crusade against corporate America’s board structure. He said he wants more people to follow him on Twitter so he can change things. America, he said, has given him so much (“though it may sound corny”).
Wapner eventually got to the most important question, thankfully — what did everyone eat at dinner?
Icahn has a personal chef, of course, and his chef’s name (incidentally) is Tim. BUT that was all we got — he shirked the menu question.
We’re upset about that, Carl.
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