Jillian Ward San Francisco

Activist investor Carl Icahn indicated yesterday that he would drop his shareholder proposal asking Apple to buy back $50 billion (R552bn) of stock this year, citing recent repurchases and the opposition of a proxy advisory firm.

“We see no reason to persist with our non-binding proposal, especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target,” Icahn said in a letter to Apple shareholders.

The billionaire said in December last year that he would seek a vote to push Apple to buy back more stock and unlock cash. The company had $159bn in cash and marketable securities on December 28.

Apple bought $14bn worth of its own shares after reporting earnings on January 28, bringing its repurchases to more than $40bn in the past 12 months.

On Sunday, influential proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that investors vote against Icahn’s proposal, saying such a motion would “micromanage” how the company used capital.

Icahn said last month he had increased his Apple stake by $500 million to about $3.6bn. – Bloomberg