Billionaire investor Carl Icahn revealed in a regulatory filing Thursday that he purchased an additional 2.8 million Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares worth $1.65 billion during the March quarter. Icahn now owns 7.5 million Apple shares that are currently valued at $4.5 billion. The bullish purchase was recorded in the first three months of this year, well before the tech giant raised its stock buyback, increased dividend and announced a 7-to-1 stock split.
Icahn ‘extremely pleased’ with Apple’s recent announcements
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s stock split will be implemented on June 2. The Cupertino-based company increased its share repurchase program from $60 billion to $90 billion. The iPhone maker aims to return over $130 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015. Apple’s board also approved an 8% hike in quarterly dividend to $3.29 per share. Carl Icahn first revealed his big position in Apple in August 2013. He had been pushing the company to increase shareholder value in multiple media interviews, open letters and meetings with Tim Cook. After the company’s recent announcements, Icahn said he was “extremely pleased” with Apple’s decision to boost shareholder value.
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Besides increasing his stake in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Icahn disclosed a new stake in the online auction company eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). As of March 31, he owned 27.8 million shares of the company. Notably, Icahn had been putting pressure on eBay to spin off its payments arm PayPal. But eBay announced last month that it has worked out a deal with the billionaire investor to end his effort for spinning off PayPal. Carl Icahn also withdrew support for two people he had nominated for the San Jose-based company’s board.
Icahn buys Herbalife, but cuts stake in Netflix
However, Carl Icahn continues to reduce his holdings in Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). Momentum stocks like Netflix have declined heavily over the past few weeks. Icahn held 2.67 million Netflix shares worth $981 million in December. But he reduced his stake to 2.2 million shares valued at $790 million at the end of March. Meanwhile, he purchased another 33,515 shares shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) during the quarter, taking the total to 17 million shares.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares fell 0.85% on Thursday to close at $588.82.