CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has called on U.S. technology giant Apple to initiate a $150 billion stock buyback he says will more than double stock prices.
"There is nothing short-term about my intentions here," Icahn says in a letter to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook that begins with the information that Icahn, since September, had increased the size of his Apple holdings from 3,875,063 shares to 4,730,739 shares, a 22 percent increase.
Icahn said he increased his share of Apple "reflecting our belief the market continues to dramatically undervalue the company, even taking into account the recent market appreciation."
In the letter posted by The Wall Street Journal, Icahn notes that the Apple board has already begun a $60 billion repurchasing program. In his letter, he says that amount "is simply not large enough given that Apple currently holds $147 billion of cash on its balance sheet and that it will generate $51 billion of EBIT [earnings before interest and tax] next year (Wall Street consensus forecast). "
Icahn said an additional $150 billion stock repurchase would send share prices up from the current price of $525 per share to $1,250 within three years.
"When we met [in September], you agreed with us that the shares are undervalued. In our view, irrational undervaluation as dramatic as this is often a short term anomaly. The timing for a larger buyback is still ripe, but the opportunity will not last forever," Icahn wrote.