The activist investor disclosed his effort in a tweet — apparently coordinated with a release from Time magazine promoting its new cover story about him where he discusses his proposal. “I’m not against the management of this company,” he told Time. But with $147B “they’ve just got too much money on their balance sheet.” He adds that CEO 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.” Apple told Time that ”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.” Icahn launched his campaign for an Apple buy-back in August. Today’s news did not immediately affect Apple’s trading price, down less than 1% ahead of the close.
Listen to (and share) Episode 59 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s financial editor joins host David Bloom and Jonathan Geller of Deadline’s sibling site BGR.com in talking about the mobile business, starting with the fundamental face-off between Apple and Google over mobile business models. They also talk about the prospects for Samsung, Microsoft and BlackBerry; T-Mobile’s radical new approach to the mobile phone business; a new study suggesting more than half of Internet bandwidth is consumed by just two sites, YouTube and Netflix; and the dubious future of next-generation video game consoles as Sony launches the PS4 today and Microsoft debuts the Xbox One in a week.
Separately, the two Davids pick through the most notable news from this week’s media earnings reports, including MGM’s 2012 gifts that keep giving, CBS and Dish Network doing a dance around the Hopper and Viacom’s debt to Miley Cyrus and some zombies.
Listen to (and share) episode 56 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive business editor talks with host David Bloom about giant pay-TV profit margins, Netflix’s big quarter as it moves past HBO in the United States; Carl Icahn’s latest efforts to turn the heat up on Apple; and Apple’s very interesting series of new hardware and software products and what they might mean for Microsoft.
The activist investor isn’t limited to Twitter and CNBC to broadcast his views. Hot off his $800M windfall this week from the sale of half his Netflix shares, today he introduced a site, Shareholders’ Square Table, where he says he’ll “discuss what can be done to change our current, dysfunctional system of corporate governance” that results in CEOs and boards “that are strangling shareholders and the economy.” His first target is Apple: Icahn published a letter he sent yesterday to CEO Tim Cook repeating a plea for the company to spend $150B to repurchase shares. Over the last month Icahn boosted his Apple stake by 22% to 4.7M shares “reflecting our belief the market continues to dramatically undervalue the company.” He adds that he “could not be more supportive of you, the existing management team, the culture at Apple and the innovative spirit it engenders.” But he’s unhappy with the current pace of buy-backs. “Apple’s Board of Directors does not currently include an individual with a track record as an investment professional,” he says. “In my opinion, any further delay in executing the buyback we hereby propose will reflect this lack of expertise on the board.” If Apple follows his advice, then in three years the share price — which closed yesterday at $524.96 — could appreciate to $1,250. To show that he isn’t in this to make a quick profit, Icahn says that he would “withhold my shares from the proposed $150 Billion tender offer. There is nothing short term about my intentions here.”
Apple‘s share price fell right after CEO Tim Cook closed today’s new product event without a major surprise such as an update to the Apple TV or an iWatch. We’ll see whether investors …
Billionaire Julian Robertson, who created Tiger Management Corp, told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo that Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of the Apple founder changed his view about investing in the company. “How can you create a great organization of people and be that mean a person?…He was really a pretty terrible …
Listen to (and share) episode 53 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive business editor talks with host David Bloom about Carl Icahn’s latest billion-dollar tweet, this one involving a massive Apple share buyback proposal; what’s causing IMAX to stumble; the possible impacts of the federal government shutdown for media & entertainment companies; and Twitter’s now-official IPO and the lessons it might learn from Facebook’s missteps last year.
The stock is up 2.5% in mid-day trading after the billionaire corporate activist turned to Twitter and CNBC to discuss his dinner last night with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Carl Icahn said in a tweet this morning that he had “a cordial dinner with Tim” and “pushed hard” for the stock buyback. “We decided to continue dialogue in about three weeks.” He now controls nearly $2B in Apple stock, and considers a share repurchase “a no-brainer,” he told CNBC. “I can’t promise you the stock will go up and I can’t promise you they will do the buyback. But I can promise you that I’m not going away until they hear a lot more from me concerning this.” The price is right, he says: Apple shares are down 25.9% over the last 12 months as investors questioned whether it can come up with another blockbuster product to rival the iPhone and iPad. In addition, Apple has a lot of cash — although much of it is parked in other countries with unusually low tax rates. Even so, Icahn says Apple can take advantage of today’s low interest rates and borrow money to buy stock.
Listen to (and share) episode 52 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive business editor talks with host David Bloom about a proposed FCC rule that may derail the recent TV station gold rush; the very different rush for Apple’s new gold iPhones and all those other colors; themes and memes out of the big Goldman-Sachs investor conference and Blackberry’s really bad quarter and plans to go private with a buyout from minority shareholder Fairfax Holdings.
UPDATE, 9:30 AM: Apple are breaking out their wallet today and breaking good it seems. Just days before Breaking Bad ends forever, the company is refunding the fans over their iTunes purchase of the last episodes of the AMC show. This iTunes $22.99 credit on Apple’s part doesn’t come cheap being that Breaking Bad was one of the most popular TV series on the online store. And it comes over two weeks (see below) after one irate fan began a class action suit against the tech company for its double dipping charges on Season 5 of the drama on iTunes. Back in mid-2012, AMC announced that the final season of Breaking Bad would be split up. However people who had bought a Season Pass to that season of the show on Apple’s music and video service didn’t discover until the second part of the cycle debuted on August 11 this year that they would have to pay another fee on top of their Season 5 Season Pass fee to watch the last 8 episodes. Those shows were now called “The Final Season” on iTunes. Needless to say, the fans were not happy and it looks like Apple or AMC or both heard them loud and clear. Check out the email that Apple sent out today to customers:
We apologize for any confusion the naming of “Season 5″ and “The Final Season” of Breaking Bad might have caused you. While the names of the seasons and episodes associated with them were not chosen by iTunes, we’d like to offer you “The Final Season” on us by providing you with the iTunes code below in the amount of $22.99. This credit can also be used for any other content on the iTunes Store. Thank you for your purchase.
The company has to sell more than 5M iPhones globally to beat the first-weekend record it set last year when it introduced the iPhone 5. And Apple watchers are optimistic that will happen, with estimates ranging from 6M to close to 8M, after seeing the long lines of customers in major markets eager to lay their hands on the latest models: the iPhone 5C and 5S. A 7M-to-8M result appears “doable”, Cowen and Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri says — largely because the new iPhones are available to a broader array of consumers. Unlike last year, people served by T-Mobile and Japan’s DoCoMo can buy the new iPhones on the opening weekend. There’s also China, where customers had to wait 90 days for the iPhone 5 outside of the gray market. Initial sales likely will favor the lower-priced iPhone 5C, the analyst says, estimating that the there are about twice as many units of that model available vs the top-of-the-line (and more expensive) 5S. Apple likely will change the mix in December to favor the 5S leading to combined sales of about 50M.
Listen to (and share) episode 50 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive financial editor and host David Bloom take a last, lingering look at who got hurt in the Time Warner-CBS fight and what a new report suggests will be coming in the future;. They also talk about whether The Simpsons is truly the world’s greatest TV asset, even as a little known value investor buys nearly 12 percent of Rupert Murdoch’s other company; buyback fever among media companies hits Disney again this year; and Wall Street’s chilly reception to Apple’s latest iPhone announcements.
Investors continued to hammer Apple after it made clear yesterday that it will continue to try to keep profit margins high on its iPhones, and not release a budget-priced model that might help it expand into developing markets.…
That’s the way things look ahead of tomorrow’s long-awaited product announcement. Just about everybody anticipates two new iPhone models — as well as an updated iOS 7 operating system, and perhaps a Pandora-like Internet music service and a software upgrade for Apple TV — that plug holes in Apple‘s business model but probably won’t dazzle fans who expect the company to dance on technology’s cutting edge. One year after it introduced the iPhone 5, Apple’s iPhone 5S is expected to offer high-end users some modest improvements. It likely will have a more powerful processor, a better camera, fingerprint recognition for security, near field communications, and some new colors. In other words, it will have just enough to reassure iPhone fans that they don’t have to envy Android users who’ll approach the holiday shopping season with several improved choices from manufacturers including Samsung, Motorola, and Sony. But investors will be more interested in the second model, expected to be called iPhone 5C, that Cowen and Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri predicts will be little more than “a glorified iPod Touch with a cellular radio.”