Carl Icahn Raises His Apple Stake to $4.5 Billion

Carl Icahn, a well-known activist and U.S. businessman has just raised his share in Apple, by purchasing 2.8 million stocks in the company. The total worth of these shares has been reported at $1.7 billion, according to a regulatory filing reprinted by The Wall Street Journal. As Carl Icahn raises his Apple stake to 7.5 million shares, he is also increasing its total worth to a whopping $4.5 billion. This move is regarded as controversial by many, both pundits and Apple fans, as Icahn is no stranger to controversy himself.

The same regulatory filing that the WSJ spotted indicated that, as of March 31, the investor’s stake in eBay stands at 27.8 million shares. On the day after the filing was identified, eBay shares were trading at $51, which means his total holdings in the web giant were worth over $1.4 billion. Icahn’s relationship with eBay has been anything but rosy of late: in early 2014, the two parties quarreled over supposed conflicts of interests within the company’s board of directors, as well as over the fate of PayPal. They called a truce in April, as eBay changed his mind on pushing forward with implementing a PayPal spinoff at eBay. In return, his nominee for the board, David Dorman, was appointed as an independent director by eBay.

Storms ahead, as Carl Icahn raises his Apple stake?

The relationship between Icahn and the maker of the iPhone has been comparatively less fraught with tension. However, it has seen some animosity: for one thing, Icahn has been critical of Apple’s board of directors for not purchasing back more stocks, in order to increase shareholder value and shed its cash excess. This came via a Tweet from the businessman, issued in January. He then went on to suggest that the company should be spending at least $50 billion on stock repurchases this year. Icahn made this proposal during a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook. However, in February April bought back stock worth $14 billion from shareholders. And then came their surprise announcement in April, which determined Icahn to take back his suggestion and announce he was “extremely pleased” with Apple’s results.

Apple’s surprise share increase April announcement

In late April, Apple made an announcement that shocked many. On the 23rd of that month, the tech giant announced that the company’s Board of Directors had authorized a major share increase. At the same time, the Board approved a 7-for-1 stocl split. In brief, Apple has expanded its program to return capital to its shareholders – the program will last until the end of the calendar year 2015. The company will be using $130 billion in cash within the program and, in a first step toward this goal, it has authorized the repurchase of $90 billion worth of shares. That’s a sizeable increase from the $60 billion threshold it had announced in 2013. Each year, Apple plans to use some $1 billion from now on, for net-share-vesting restricted stock units.

Who is Carl Icahn?

Those of you who are less familiar with the U.S. business scene might not have heard of Carl Icahn thus far. The 1936-born American businessman holds the majority of shares in Icahn enterprises, a holding company with a diversified portfolio. He started out as a stockbroker on Wall Street in the 1960s and went on to found his own risk arbitrage company, which bears his last name. Throughout the years, he has held controlling positions in numerous companies, including Texaco, Philips Petroleum, Gulf & Western, Time Warner, Motorola, Herbalife, and many others. He is also an activist fore shareholder rights, via his own media outlet, titled The Icahn Report, which he launched in 2008. The organization hosts meetings for the shareholders of America.

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