updated 11:16 am EST, Mon February 10, 2014
Apple's own expanded buyback 'so close' to fulfilling goals, investor says
Investor Carl Icahn is dropping efforts to get Apple to pay for an extended share buyback program, which would've cost the company an extra $50 billion in 2014, according to a newly-published open letter. "We [Icahn's investment firm] see no reason to persist with our non-binding proposal, especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target," Icahn writes. The quote makes reference to Apple's recent $14 billion buyback, which took advantage of an 8 percent drop in Apple's share value following first-quarter results.
The proposal was set to be voted on at Apple's annual shareholders meeting later this month. While merely advisory, it might have put pressure on the company to increase buybacks past the point Apple executives were comfortable with. Officially the board of directors has opposed Icahn.
Just this weekend, influential proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services issued a report recommending against Icahn's measure. The firm argued that while supporting it would send a message to Apple about excess cash, the company has already taken a number of steps towards appeasing shareholders.