The Latest in the Carl Icahn / Apple Romance

Writing for Fortune, Adam Lashinsky says “Icahn blinked”:

So what is the new level? CNBC, citing a source, says Icahn wants $50 billion now, and that he’d like it by the end of the current fiscal year, which is 10 months away. Icahn didn’t tell Time that figure, and he hasn’t yet tweeted it. We’re relying on CNBC’s source for it.

But assuming the figure is correct, Icahn has gone from $150 billion right now to $50 billion when Apple can get around to it. For the most part, the commentary has been of the variety that Icahn remains on Apple’s case, riding it hard for the cash hoarder it is. wrote that Icahn “wasn’t joking” about the $150 billion buyback. Except it appears he was.

This, in response to Time Magazine’s cover profile of Icahn, which included this:

Apple confirms that Icahn has filed a precatory proposal and, in response to TIME’s query about it, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said: “Earlier this year we more than doubled our capital return program to $100 billion, including the largest share repurchase authorization in history. As part of our regular review process, we are once again actively seeking our shareholders’ input on our program, and as we said in October, the management team and our board are engaged in an ongoing discussion about it which is thoughtful and deliberate. We will announce any changes to our current program in the first part of calendar 2014.”

How often does Apple respond to press inquiries? Rarely. Very rarely. I don’t think this standoff with Icahn is contentious (certainly not by Icahn standards), but the fact that Apple responded at all shows that they’re taking him seriously.

Thursday, 5 December 2013