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Icahn reveals discussion with Apple CEO Tim Cook got 'a little testy'

post #1 of 64
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While he initially described dinner with Tim Cook as "cordial," Icahn later revealed in an interview that his talks with Apple's CEO about the use of the company's cash reserves were "a little testy" at times.

Icahn


Icahn also revealed in an interview on CNBC that Cook was joined by Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer for their discussions in New York City on Monday. It was there that the three apparently disputed whether shareholders should have a say in how Apple executives opt to spend the company's cash.

"The board is not God," Icahn said. "And the board, in this kind of a case, should be listening to what the shareholders want."



The billionaire investor believes Apple should increase its share buyback program and spend $150 billion on its own shares. Apple's current plan calls for it to spend a total of $100 billion through 2015 on share buybacks as well as dividend payouts.

Earlier Tuesday, Icahn took to Twitter to say that he had a "cordial dinner" with Cook. The two parties will meet to continue their "dialogue" in about three weeks, which is about the same time that Apple is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings for fiscal 2013.

Though he has publicly said he believes shares of AAPL are "extremely undervalued," Icahn has a reputation for causing trouble with tech companies. He famously opposed Michael Dell's efforts to take PC maker Dell private, won three seats on Yahoo's Board of Directors, and is also credited with helping to force out the CEO of Motorola before the handset maker was bought by Google.

Icahn is said to have about a $1.5 billion stake in Apple. While that's a considerable sum, it would not put him among the company's largest shareholders, particularly institutional investors with significant stakes.
post #2 of 64

If it got testy from Apple's side (which is what it sounds like), more props to Tim.

 

OTOH, if it was from Icahn's side, what else is new -- he seems to thrive on getting into fights. Here's an example: http://on.wsj.com/19fodJq (or if you want to watch the whole thing http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000143591; be warned that, while it's entertaining, it's 27 minutes of your life you wan't get back!).

post #3 of 64

Yeah go Tim.  Carl probably thought this would be an easy pitch.  My belief is Apple would turn into another HP or DELL in a heartbeat if it changed how it works.  It would start to turn down design team choices that had higher manufacturing expenses for example.

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post #4 of 64

We all know, Carl, that you have Apple's best interest at heart and that this has nothing to do with your own self interest. I mean, really , if anyone really thinks about this, what have you got to gain from pushing Tim Cook around.

 

 

 

/s (as if that really had to be stated)

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post #5 of 64
Icahn has always enjoyed throwing his financial weight around. Perhaps he has a fantasy where he takes over Apple and changes his name to iCahn. I don't see him changing his name until after he is in control of Apple and, since that's not going to happen, we can be carelessly amused.
post #6 of 64
Icahn has always enjoyed throwing his financial weight around. Perhaps he has a fantasy where he takes over Apple and changes his name to iCahn. I don't see him changing his name until after he is in control of Apple and, since that's not going to happen, we can be carelessly amused.
post #7 of 64
Icahn's a pretty chatty little guy isn't he?
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post #8 of 64
The minute Icahn sticks his nose into a company's business things go haywire. I live near St. Louis, MO. Icahn got his hooks into St. Louis based TWA airlines and within a few years they were gone, sold to American Airlines, and St. Louis lost its international flight status. Just go to Wikipedia and read the gory details of Icahn's stewardship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_World_Airlines
post #9 of 64
Icahn just wants to make a quick profit. He does not care what actually happens over the long term to the companies he is investing in.

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post #10 of 64
This fool certainly likes the attention.
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post #11 of 64

Icahn is like a shark reacting to a waft of blood. No doubt to him, Apple looks beleaguered and its management weak. Good for Cook standing up to him! You don't want Icahn hanging around. He carries an air and reputation of mismanagement and destruction all about him, like the dust cloud around Pig-Pen.

post #12 of 64

You're always better off doing the opposite of what Icahn wants you to do.

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post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post
 

Icahn is like a shark reacting to a waft of blood. No doubt to him, Apple looks beleaguered and its management weak. Good for Cook standing up to him! You don't want Icahn hanging around. He carries an air and reputation of mismanagement and destruction all about him, like the dust cloud around Pig-Pen.

 

Apple looks beleaguered?

 

I know what you are saying... but, you know...

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post #14 of 64
Ye olde "listen to the shareholder. I'm a big shareholder so you gotta listen to me !" pitch again.
Another asset stripper dressed up in an expensive suit.

He'll short Apple the moment he realises he can't get his own way.
post #15 of 64
This version of dinner with Steve Jobs instead of Tim Cook:

Icahn: I believe that the Apple board should listen more to what the shareholders want.
Steve Jobs: F*ck off.
Icahn: Okay, what should we have for dessert?
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post #16 of 64
Guy with no knowledge of the company is trying to tell them how to do things. Yeah they are likely to get a bit testy

The board isn't God and neither are the shareholders no matter how many they have. Get over it.

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #17 of 64
Someone please explain to me why Cook would even give this guy the time or day (or night as the case may be)? He has a mediocre stake that can't control jack. I'm not sure how corporate law works in America but don't investors get a say when it comes to electing the board or directors? I'm not saying that's perfect but that's how I understand it to work.

Or was it that he was the one that won the coffee with Cook auction and it turned into dinner with Tim? It's the only plausible explanation I can think of!
post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

This version of dinner with Steve Jobs instead of Tim Cook:

Icahn: I believe that the Apple board should listen more to what the shareholders want.
Steve Jobs: F*ck off.
Icahn: Okay, what should we have for dessert?

Who says that isn't what Tim said also. Maybe not those words but that message

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post #19 of 64
People like him produces no actual value in the world. As soon as a disruption occur in finance - like iPhone was to smartphones - the healthier the economy would be.
post #20 of 64
Tim: "did you help make any of the money?"

Carl: "No"

Tim: "Then STFU about it"
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post #21 of 64
F$$$ Icahn - He comes across as an ambulance chaser. I doubt he has the companies best interest in mind, just his empire. I'd side with Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer any day of the week.
I trust Cooks and Oppenheimer with steering ship and finances!

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post #22 of 64
What I don't get is why did Tim Cook actually meet with him? What is the obligation? Or is it that Tim Cook wants Icahn to be his broker to plan a large buyout? What is about Icahn that should amuse Tim?
post #23 of 64
How old is Icahn? Once he passes - perhaps to Hades - the world will be a better place.
post #24 of 64
Wow. this guy is such a clown. What's best for the company IS best for the shareholders. It is a comfort that Apple has a large sum in savings. Wether it is used for the proverbial famine season or unforseeable acquisition needs, it is actually the best thing that Apple has such cash to back them up.

Mr. Icahn figures that because Steve Jobs isn't piloting the company, that must mean Tim Cook isn't on the same level. Therefore, Mr. Icahn can come in to leave another carcass in his wake and com out the richer for it. No Apple investor wants Icahn calling the shots. Dear sir, please be quiet and go away.

I'm willing to bet he was more than shocked at how strong, wise, and future-thinking Mr. Cook really is.

And he didn't like it. if things weren't going his way, it was "testy." LOL. I'm guessing he was testing Tim's mettle and found it quite resistant to manipulation.

Note to others: Tim cook is not "new money" and we like him in his role. Thank you.

This poor guy, Mr. Cook. He has secretly been the backbone of Apple for a long time, but was content with being in the background - essentially a thankless job as far as the public goes. Now, he is in the public eye and not only is he not thanked enough, he actually has to field the ignorant sentiment that somehow he is not qualified or that he isn't doing what is in the best interest of the company. In reality, he is overseeing the most successful Apple ever. and he is not afraid to make radical changes (something Jobs instilled in his staff, most obvious when they axed the best selling iPod Mini to create the Nano) seen in the firing of once-great-asset-turned-unrepentant-liability Forstall, restructuring internal teams to enable greater collaboration, the introduction of iOS7, the forthcoming revolutionary Mac Pro, 64 bit mobile computing, fingerprint authentication that actually works reliably, etc., etc. The man moves quick and he is very thorough.

It's always difficult to come after the rock star. And Tim Cook had the unenviable position of doing just that. But he is doing it and doing it very, very well. Props to Tim Cook.
post #25 of 64
Now Tim Cook should tell off Obama for comparing iOS 7 to ObamaCare.
 
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post #26 of 64

As people pointed, Icahn has no clue about technologies company other than they do not perform to the level which he thinks they should do. This is the first time he trying to get his hands into a company which is not having troubles, which is his claim to fame. But if you look at ever company he got his hands on no longer exist or is a shell of what they were. He always make money since he gets in when it low and then forces the company to do thinks that prop up the stock value and then gets out and does not care when happen after that. He just another guy trying to manipulate a company into doing things which are only good for the stock value and nothing else. He hides behind the fact that he said he trying to help shareholders and the company. 

 

Ask your self, would you invest in the company who is obviously having issues, hell no you run the other ways, this guy runs to them and always comes with more money than anyone else.

 

Even Warren Buffet said he will not invest in Apple since he does not understand the whole Tech industry. He invest in what he knows and in companies which could be better.

post #27 of 64
One only has to remember what a great job Icahn did with TWA to appreciate all efforts to avid his interference with Apple.

IMO the guy is an asset stripper, pure and simple, and can only ending up harming Apple.
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post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post

How old is Icahn? Once he passes - perhaps to Hades - the world will be a better place.

He might be a slimy fat-cat, but you've got to far in killing him off there. Easy horsey.
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post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

Now Tim Cook should tell off Obama for comparing iOS 7 to ObamaCare.

Obama, lol. 'The next Kennedy' they said.
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post #30 of 64

I hope Apple has taken sufficient steps to retain control in the board, should outside "activist" shareholders attempt to shake them down the way Icahn has companies in the past. 

 

The board needs to consider the needs of all shareholders and how to keep the company valuable.. but Icahn has been able to use lawsuits to sell the idea that "wahtever maximizes shareholder return in the short term is the boards duty".... and that could be very dangerous.

 

Alas, now that Icahn has a position, it's too late to enact such measures, so hopefully they did it back in the 1990s when they were vulneragble to a hostile takeover. 

post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

This version of dinner with Steve Jobs instead of Tim Cook:

Icahn: I believe that the Apple board should listen more to what the shareholders want.
Steve Jobs: F*ck off.
Icahn: Okay, what should we have for dessert?

Steve knew when to woo and when to go to war. He was magnetic when I wanted to seduce you.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #32 of 64
How am I post 31 again??? This seems to happen to me with alarming frequency.

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post #33 of 64
Split the stock Cook!
post #34 of 64
Icahn's looking long in the tooth. My guess is he's got not long for the world and wants to spread his financial might around before he kicks the bucket.
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

This version of dinner with Steve Jobs instead of Tim Cook:

Icahn: I believe that the Apple board should listen more to what the shareholders want.
Steve Jobs: F*ck off.
Icahn: Okay, what should we have for dessert?

Funny and (I'm guessing) true!

I don't recall hearing about Jobs ever meeting financial morons like him. He cared more about the products and I doubt he had the slightest interest in or patience for Wall St or even lawyers and financial people within Apple unless they were working on something he wanted or of direct relevance to the products. Sadly I think this demonstrates just how different Cook is from Jobs and it worries me a little.

What Jobs understood was that if the products are great then customers will embrace them and the company will do well. The danger from letting vision-less financial people get too much control is that they can lose focus on the products and respect for the talented engineers and designers that make them and instead try to manufacture success through corporate schmoozing, stock manipulation and marketing and these are roads to ruin.

I hope that reports of the meeting being testy were because Cook wasn't really that interested in anything he said, but then if that's the case why even meet him in the first place...
Edited by s.metcalf - 10/1/13 at 2:37pm
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

This version of dinner with Steve Jobs instead of Tim Cook:

Icahn: I believe that the Apple board should listen more to what the shareholders want.
Steve Jobs: F*ck off.
Icahn: Okay, what should we have for dessert?

LOL
WSJ: A cordial meeting between Steve and a large stockholder was had and all issues were resolved.
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post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by firhill07 View Post

What I don't get is why did Tim Cook actually meet with him? What is the obligation? Or is it that Tim Cook wants Icahn to be his broker to plan a large buyout? What is about Icahn that should amuse Tim?

There's no obligation. Cook was not required to meet with Icahn.

However, it was not unreasonable to do so. First, Icahn holds over a billion dollars in AAPL. The mere fact that he was buying increased the share price. If he were to start dumping the stock, it would probably clobber the share price. There's no harm in having dinner with the guy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoonerYoda View Post

Split the stock Cook!

I agree completely.
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post #38 of 64

The only thin Ican wants is apple to buy a boat load more of there shares back so his stock becomes more valuable so he can cash in.

Props to Cook for telling the blowhard to get real.  The guy must really get amused by manipulating companies.  Fortunately for Apple he is a tiny investor % of owned stock wise.

post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

There's no obligation. Cook was not required to meet with Icahn.

However, it was not unreasonable to do so. First, Icahn holds over a billion dollars in AAPL. The mere fact that he was buying increased the share price. If he were to start dumping the stock, it would probably clobber the share price. There's no harm in having dinner with the guy.
I agree completely.

When you are head of Apple Corps, you are almost obligated to meet powerful individuals like Icahn. Think about the Queen of England who is obligated to meet and greet the latest Commonwealth dictator to rise to the top of the heap - when they come to the Uk on a bargaining mission. Or like the diplomatics corp who cordially meet their opposite numbers but still hate their guts. Notice how all the pre-meeting PR was coming from Icahn - he even stated his agenda beforehand.
I think it was a fishing trip and Icahn didn't get the reception he wanted, was sent away with a flea in his ear from Peter Openheimer telling him to go home and do his homework.
...and Icahn is still working the media!
Icahn definitely thinks Apple is vulnerable on the APPL front and seems to be planning to go one way or the other, dependant on these so-called 'talks'...he likely doesn't care which.
On the other hand, while Icahn may make some PR headway, Apple no doubt is launching countermeasures of their own.

Just out of interest, what does splitting the stock achieve? How does it weaken Icahn's investment value...proportionally, or the strength of his argument, or his proxy strength? I know the practical benefits personally, having been blessed twice over....but what's the business management argument?
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frac View Post

Just out of interest, what does splitting the stock achieve? How does it weaken Icahn's investment value...proportionally, or the strength of his argument, or his proxy strength? I know the practical benefits personally, having been blessed twice over....but what's the business management argument?

No one ever claimed that it would weaken Icahn's (or anyone else's) share value.

What it achieves is that it makes the stock more affordable for small investors. The average investor who can set aside $100 a month to buy shares is far more likely to buy AAPL monthly than to wait 5 months and then buy one share. There's also a psychological difference for the small investor. Buying shares at $50 isn't as scary as buying them at $500 - even if the actual proportional value doesn't change.

That yields two results:

1. If it brings new investors into the market, it increases demand for the stock, thereby increasing the price. Even though each individual investor only buys a few shares, the aggregate amount could be significant.

2. It would have absolutely no impact on institutional buyers or large buyers like Icahn. Any effect would be only on smaller buyers - and could therefore shift the ownership slightly away from institutions (who tend to buy and sell at the drop of a hat and create a lot of volatility).

While the total number of shares would be modest, it doesn't take a lot to have an impact. A couple million shares one way or the other could be significant.
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