You have to give Carl Icahn credit — when he has a cause, he sure is persistent. His latest move to persuade Apple to give more of its cash reserves back to stockholders is perhaps his boldest. Instead of merely talking publicly about his proposal to increase the stock buyback program, Icahn has filed a shareholder proposal that’ll turn up for vote during Apple’s next annual shareholder’s meeting.
Icahn’s latest proposal calls for a $50 billion stock buyback program. This is above and beyond the $100 billion share repurchase program that Apple announced earlier this year. Stockholders will be able to vote on this buyback program, but the decision will not force the board to implement this plan. Icahn filed it as a precatory proposal, which means the board is encouraged to adopt the action, but it does not have a binding effect.
Speaking to Time, Icahn claims this proposal is not a condemnation of Tim Cook and Apple. He says that “Tim Cook is doing a good job with the business. I think he’s good whether he does what I want or not. But “Apple is not a bank, ” referring to the company’s large stockpile of cash.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed that Icahn has filed a precatory proposal and issued the following statement:
“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.”
Icahn claims Tim Cook is willing to at listen to what he has to say, but quips that getting Cook to find a slice of time is difficult. This guy’s tougher to get than the President,” says Icahn.