Everybody wins when Carl Icahn gives up on Apple

“I guess the story of Carl Icahn and Apple is that Icahn is withdrawing his proposal to make Apple buy back more stock because he’s gotten most of what he wants, but I don’t get it?” Matt Levine writes for Bloomberg. “I might tell the story as, Apple was doing a big share buyback, and so Icahn came in and said “hey you should do a big share buyback!,” and Apple kept doing what it was doing and ignoring Icahn but he got to claim victory anyway. I’m going to start agitating for Apple to sell phones, I will look like a genius.”

“Iit does seem reasonable to think that Icahn accelerated Apple’s timing a bit — possibly enough to finish the $60 billion program early and have to increase it, which after all is what Icahn wanted,” Levine writes. “On the other hand Apple hasn’t accelerated its buying all that much since Icahn got involved: It bought $21 billion of stock in the six months before Icahn started tweeting, and $19 billion in the four and a half months since. Meh! It is hard to see how Icahn deserves much credit for that.”

“Icahn gets to claim a victory, since Apple did what he wants. So whatever he proposes to the next board will look that much more compelling,” Levine writes. “But on the other hand, Apple doesn’t really have a loss, since it was doing what Icahn wanted anyway, and since Icahn ended up blinking first. So the next board, and the next company to go public, might not think Icahn is so scary. And that’s good for Icahn too.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Levine’s article is an excellent compendium/postmortem of the AAPL/Icahn chapter.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Why Carl Icahn will eventually get what he wants from Apple – February 11, 2014
Apple gains as Carl Icahn scurries away – February 10, 2014
Carl Icahn sees ‘no reason to persist’ with Apple buyback proposal – February 10, 2014
New York City Comptroller to urge Apple investors to vote against Icahn’s buyback proposal – February 10, 2014
Proxy advisor: Apple shareholders should reject Carl Icahn’s buyback proposal – February 7, 2014
CalPERS criticizes ‘Johnny come lately’ Icahn’s push for additional Apple buybacks – December 12, 2013
Carl Icahn ups Apple stake to $3.6 billion, reiterates calls for larger stock buyback – January 24, 2014


  1. Guys, guys, guys! I think Apple should release a new iPad this year! I’m even going to propose a shareholder vote on the issue!

    Spot-on analysis, except for one thing: Icahn blinking first IS a clear victory for Apple. He got what he wanted, which Apple was going to do anyway, but Apple didn’t do it on his terms. So he lost in terms of his ability to manipulate Apple. Hopefully he stays out of their business from now on.

    Unlikely, but I can dream.

  2. I still don’t understand why Icahn would waste his money on Apple when there are any number of other companies he could have made money on a lot faster and not have to strong-arm those companies to get money back. Priceline is going to $1500 a share and Google is going to $1400 a share this year but Apple is going nowhere so it’s not even a close race. He would have even owned a greater percent of those companies and been way ahead by now. Instead he chose a lame race horse of a company and he’s supposed to be financially wise. It makes no sense at all.

  3. Carl Icahn is a greedy billionaire who has zero interest in the Macintosh or iOS platforms and sees Apple as nothing more than an investment opportunity to make money. And if I have to explain to you why this is bad then you are part of the problem.

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