Carl Icahn, an activist shareholder who is heavily invested in Apple, has sold 7 million shares, according to a Bloomberg terminal alert.
Icahn still owns roughly 45.76 million shares of Apple. Apple’s shares were flat during after-hours trading after Icahn’s announcement.
Last May, Icahn wrote an open letter to CEO Tim Cook basically saying he thinks the market significantly undervalues Apple.
It is our belief that large institutional investors, Wall Street analysts and the news media alike continue to misunderstand Apple and generally fail to value Apple’s net cash separately from its business, fail to adjust earnings to reflect Apple’s real cash tax rate, fail to recognise the growth prospects of Apple entering new categories, and fail to recognise that Apple will maintain pricing and margins, despite significant evidence to the contrary. Collectively, these failures have caused Apple’s earnings multiple to stay irrationally discounted, in our view.
Since then, Apple’s share price has significantly fallen. It’s currently trading at around $97 per share, down from a peak of $132 last May. At the time, Icahn argued that he believed that Apple shares were worth $240.
Icahn has publicly called for Apple to hold “opportunistic” and “aggressive” share repurchases since 2013. Apple’s share-repurchase program will total $140 billion by the end of March 2017.
In 2014, Icahn and Cook had dinner, during which Icahn “pushed hard for a $150 billion buyback,” according to a tweet he sent.
On Tuesday, Apple announced that it planned to issue $10 to $12 billion of bonds, mostly to finance additional share buybacks and dividends.
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