Apple silences Icahn with share buyback

Billionaire Carl Icahn said he will back down from a board proposal urging Apple to buy back shares. It took Apple about two weeks and $14 billion to do it.

Well played Apple CEO Tim Cook. You managed to silence Twitter happy, media loving billionaire investor Carl Icahn for a few minutes.

In a letter to Apple shareholders, Icahn said he's going to back down over squawking about share buybacks and how the company uses its cash.

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company bought $14 billion of its own shares in two weeks and has new products in the pipeline . ISS, which rates shareholder proposals, said on Sunday that it wouldn't support an Icahn proposal calling for more share buybacks.

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On Monday, Icahn backed down. In a letter to Apple shareholders, Icahn said he was disappointed that ISS wouldn't support him, but did acknowledge that the company's buyback altered the appeal of a proposal urging Apple to buy at least $32 billion worth of shares in 2014.

Previously:  Icahn lambasts Apple for hoarding 'cash rather than repurchase stock'

Icahn said:

As Tim Cook describes them, these recent actions taken by the company to repurchase shares have been both “opportunistic” and “aggressive” and we are supportive. In light of these actions, and ISS’s recommendation, we see no reason to persist with our non-binding proposal, especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target.

Furthermore, in light of Tim Cook’s confirmed plan to launch new products in new categories this year (in addition to an exciting product roadmap with respect to new products in existing categories), we are extremely excited about Apple’s future.

Add it up and Apple appears to have rid itself of the Icahn distraction---at least for now. If Icahn occupied more than a few hours of Cook's time it's probably too much.