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Icahn admits meeting with Tim Cook got 'a little testy'

updated 04:59 pm EDT, Tue October 1, 2013

Pair were joined by CFO Peter Oppenheimer

Yesterday's meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook was actually "a little testy," says investor Carl Icahn in a new CNBC interview. In a Twitter post today, Icahn had claimed that the meeting was "cordial." The pair are now said to have been joined by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and disputed whether or not shareholders should get involved in how Apple executives spend cash.

"The board is not God," Icahn tells CNBC. "And the board, in this kind of a case, should be listening to what the shareholders want." Icahn has approximately $1.5 billion invested in Apple, and is pushing the company to expand its share buyback program from $60 billion to $150 billion. He has publicly described the company as "extremely undervalued."

Icahn is sometimes describes as an "activist" investor, willing to pressure companies into making changes that favor his investments. He recently fought Michael Dell's plans to take his company private, for instance, and also helped force out the former CEO of Motorola before the company was bought out by Google.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    In diplomatic speak "cordial" means that no knives were drawn and no blood shed. "A little testy" is a more accurate description.

    Apple has the money to do a massive stock buyback, but that money is overseas and would be taxed heavily if it returned home. The U.S. has some of the highest corporate taxes in the world, almost twice the European average. Apple would have to pay the difference between the taxes paid there and that here, perhaps tens of billions.

    Obama and the Democrats are not going to help Silicon Valley with this. They'd rather use those taxes to buy votes elsewhere. And given how heavily Silicon Valley tilts toward Democrats, the Republicans have no reason to be helpful. Any changes the Republicans make if they gain more power in 2014 are likely to be for small businesses rather than giant global corporations. They know who their friends are.

    Politicians always think in terms of swing votes. California is now so heavily Democratic that neither party needs to pay it any attention. If the Democrats shaft the state, it'll still elect Democrats. If the Republicans treat it nicely and generously, it'll still vote Democratic.

    FDR offers a historical example of that. The South voted heavily for FDR, while states in the mountain west didn't. As a result, mountain states got about five times as much New Deal money per capita as states in the South. Blacks in the South, who could rarely vote, had it even worse, They got half what Southern whites got.

    In short, Icahn can fuss and fume, but he's not going to get what he wants. The politics are against him.

  1. elroth

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-05-06

    Sorry, Inkling, but your whole post is invalid - there are no politics involved here, and you can put your non-sensical "analysis" back in your pocket.

    Icahn is not asking Apple to bring back the money from overseas - he wants them to borrow the $150 billion (as interest rates are low). Apple has already borrowed $17 billion to buy back stock last quarter. I really hope Apple doesn't do it (I thibnk it's a terrible idea), and Icahn is a destructive jerk, but politics has nothing to do with it.

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-03-99

    fsck that guy!

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    While corporate taxes are a bit higher than they should be *on paper,* this is in part due to the fact that few American corporations pay any tax at all. Apple -- by itself -- pays 1/6th of all the corporate taxes in America. One (admittedly hugely successful) company that does everything it can legally do to pay as little taxes (as possible apart from leave the US) is paying one-sixth of the load. What that SHOULD be telling you is not some half-baked theory about buying black votes (it always seems to be about the minorities with you), but rather that the other US corporations aren't paying their fair share. Like GE, like Exxon, etc etc.

    I'm all for a lower corporate tax rate -- if corporations actually pay it. The real problem is that they don't, and instead convince the government to give highly-profitable businesses like oil producers subsidies, tax breaks and other corporate welfare, meaning they end up often pay less than no tax at all!

    My translation of what Icahn got told was "why don't you just sit down, shut up and let us continue to you make you super-rich more quietly? How'd that Dell thing work out for ya?"

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