Carl Icahn’s going on the attack again, this time taking aim at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s board of directors. He appeared on CNBC today to discuss the letter he wrote to CEO Tim Cook and posted on his new website this morning. He also discussed other topics, including a tweet in which PIMCO’s Bill Gross blasted him for his interference with Apple.
Icahn thinks Apple’s board is negligent
Icahn has been pushing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to buy back $150 billion of its shares as soon as possible. He also wants the company to borrow in order to finance that share buyback since so much of the company’s cash is overseas.
In his letter to Cook and on CNBC today, he also went on the attack of Apple’s board while continuing to voice his support for Cook and the rest of the company’s management. He emphasized that a company the size of Apple will be able to handle such a massive share buyback plan.
Icahn bought Apple at around $440 a share
Icahn was asked at what approximate price he got into Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and he said his basis was around $40 a share, although he has purchased more shares since he started tweeting about his buyback suggestion. He said even if Apple shares climb to $550 or $570 a share, a buyback would still be compelling. He thinks even at these prices Apple shares are “still very cheap.”
Will Icahn start a proxy battle with Apple?
According to Icahn, he’s currently trying to feel out shareholders to see what they think of a share buyback. He said if it comes down to it, he may initiate a proxy battle if he thinks shareholders will support it.
CNBC’s Scott Wapner asked him if he thinks he could win a proxy battle, but Icahn just emphasized that they were testing the waters and that they’ve done well in the past because they’ve “gotten boards to change things.” He also said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s board isn’t “above reproach.”
Icahn faces off with Gross over Apple
When asked about the tweet from PIMCO’s Bill Gross regarding his attack of Apple, Icahn said he respects Gross’s opinion but that it doesn’t mean he’s right. Gross tweeted: Icahn should leave Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates. If Icahn’s so smart, use it to help people not yourself.”
Wapner pointed out that Warren Buffett also supports Apple’s board, but Icahn pointed to Theodore Roosevelt, who “took on the monopolies.” He believes that the reason entitlements are becoming a problem a problem in the U.S. is because companies aren’t being run correctly.