Feb. 10 - Investor Carl Icahn backed down from his fight to get Apple to buy back more shares as more big investors sided with the iPhone maker. Fred Katayama reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~***NONE*~ Carl Icahn is backing down in his fight to get Apple to buy back more shares. The activist investor said, " ... 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." He said Apple has only $18 billion to go to meet his demand for more buybacks. The news sent Apple's shares higher at the start of trade. He issued this statement after more major investors backed Apple ahead of its big shareholder meeting this month. New York City's comptroller urged investors to vote no on Icahn's share buyback proposal. Scott Stringer, whose pension funds he oversees own more than a billion dollars worth of Apple shares, says Icahn's plan is "too risky and too shortsighted." He echoes the recommendation by influential investment advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. ISS said Apple had already taken what it called "good faith efforts" to return cash via buybacks and dividend payouts. The latest actions follow similar calls last week by the pension fund Calpers and proxy advisory firm Egan-Jones. Apple has already committed to returning $100 billion to shareholders through buybacks and dividends. J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz notes Apple has bought back $40 billion of its shares over the last 12 months. He says he would "prefer Apple further boost its investment in new technologies and services," pointing out that buybacks won't overcome the slowdown of its key iPhone business.