Let's Put Into Perspective Carl Icahn's Stake In Apple

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has been grabbing a lot of headlines as he attempts to persuade Apple CEO Tim Cook to undertake a $US150 billion share buyback.

Today, he was on CNBC for a long time.

Miller Tabak chief economic strategist Andrew Wilkinson puts Icahn’s stake in Apple into perspective in his “chart of the day.”

In a note to clients, Wilkinson writes:

Whether he tweets it, sends a letter to a company’s top brass or just grabs a handful of shares, it’s hard to miss the attention commanded by Carl Icahn. The activist billionaire investor is pushing Apple chide Tim Cook to spend $US150 billion buying back shares in the company in the interests of shareholders. Mr. Icahn suggests paying 3% to borrow that amount of money with the aim of buying back its shares at $US525 apiece, Apple could beef at one fell swoop its EPS by 33%. Not quite top-line growth, but we get the point.

But for all the fuss, and we know just how vocal Mr. Icahn can become on television, his fund holds around 0.5% of shares outstanding at Apple. Granted that’s worth a tidy $US2.5 billion but it is well down the pecking order. Icahn Associates’ holding of 4.7 million shares compares to 47.0 million held by Apple’s largest investor — Blackrock — which owns 5.2% or 47 million of Apple valued at $US23.5 billion at current prices. Based on his near-hour long appearance on television over lunch, perhaps we should expect to hear the Blackrock folks take to the airwaves all day Friday to pitch their case for how Tim Cook needs to run his company.

Here’s the chart.

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