What did he say? Only that he now owns a large amount of the tech giant’s stock and he thinks it’s undervalued. Icahn’s Twitter chatter, just after lunchtime yesterday, sent the stock price soaring, ending the day 4.75% up, at $489.57 – its highest price since January.
Veteran activist investor Icahn is famed for taking large stakes in companies and forcing through changes in direction. He is believed to be pushing for a bigger share buyback from Apple.
He tweeted: ‘We currently have a large position in APPLE. We believe the company to be extremely undervalued. Spoke to Tim Cook today. More to come.’
That phone call must have been something of a bittersweet conversation for Apple CEO Tim Cook. Sure, the resulting tweets may have added billions to the value of the company, but Icahn’s demands will now be pretty hard to ignore.
‘Discussed my opinion that a larger buyback should be done now. We plan to speak again shortly,’ came another tweet.
Right, that’ll be a larger buyback coming straight up then.
Apple responded, saying: ‘We appreciate the interest and investment of all of our shareholders. Tim had a very positive conversation with Mr Icahn today.’
US press has speculated Icahn’s share in Apple is well over $1bn, making Apple one of his largest investments.
It might be a good idea for Cook to give Michael Dell, chief executive and founder of the eponymous computer giant, a quick call to find out exactly what he’s dealing with when it comes to Icahn.
Dell is currently embroiled in a long and painful tussle with Icahn over his proposed buyback of the company. The activist shareholder has been blocking Dell’s offer to take the company private again, stating the deal isn't generous enough.
Icahn’s treatment of Apple has been softer so far, which is seen as a vote of confidence in Tim Cook, something the Apple CEO needs following a swathe of criticism.
Investors had become concerned about competition in the smartphone market, with stiff rivalry from global market leader Samsung. Most recently, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison claimed Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs, (we can’t quote him exactly, he made his point through the medium of expressive dance).
But after the bad news from rival Blackberry earlier this week, along with Icahn’s conspicuous approval, pundits may well change their attitudes from Cook can’t, to Cook (I)cahn.