Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook did indeed meet with activist investor Carl Icahn last night as expected, and finally we have a number of how much the company should put towards a share buyback. Icahn tweeted this morning that they “pushed hard for a 150 billion buyback.” He also indicated that they decided to continue talking “in about three weeks.”
Icahn is also preparing for an appearance on CNBC in just a couple of hours, so investors will have a chance to hear more very soon.
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Does Apple really need to return more cash?
The debate about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s cash stash has been going on for most of the year, starting with hedge fund manager David Einhorn. However, he was appeased back in April when the company announced a $60 billion share buyback program that would run through the end of 2015. That buyback program was part of a larger plan to return $100 billion to shareholders by that time.
So how much do investors really want the company to return? And does it really need to do so? Historically speaking, the company’s shares react more to news about iPhone and iPad sales than they do about a share buyback, and there’s been a lot of debate about why Apple should buy back additional shares.
Icahn’s push is far ahead of what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been planning, and he has argued that the company should borrow money at today’s ultra-low rates to finance the share buyback. After all, much of the company’s cash is overseas, and it would be very expensive to repatriate that.
Icahn tweeted that he would appear on CNBC at noon Eastern today to talk more about his meeting with Cook. You can be sure that plenty of investors will be tuning in to hear about that.
Shares of Apple rose more than 1 percent after Icahn’s tweet about his meeting, suggesting that this time, perhaps, investors might be interested in a greater share buyback program.