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Icahn to stop pressuring Apple on stock repurchasing

Feb. 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM   |   Comments

CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Monday he would quit pushing U.S. technology giant Apple Inc. to repurchase $50 billion more of its own shares.

Apple has already announced plans to buy back $60 billion of its own shares. Last week, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the company had purchased $14 billion of its own shares in the two weeks following release of its fourth quarter corporate report, which said revenue for the quarter was less than expected, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

But stock market consulting firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. Sunday said it would not recommend to shareholders that they go along with Icahn's strategy.

ISS said Apple's board has been slow at reducing the firm's $160 billion cash holdings, but that pressing the board to repurchase more stock would "micromanage the company's capital allocation process."

ISS said Apple's repurchasing program to date was slow, calling it "a little like bailing with a leaky bucket."

But the consulting firm also gave the Apple board credit for "good faith efforts" at financial management in the past.

"It is our expectation that Tim and the board continue to exhibit this behavior as fiduciaries to the shareholders since they clearly seem to agree that our company continues to be extremely undervalued," Mr. Icahn in an open letter to shareholders as he called off his campaign to push the board into increasing the repurchasing program.

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