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.”
But PIMCO’s Bill Gross is unimpressed. “Icahn should leave #Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates. If #Icahn’s so smart, use it to help people not yourself,” he tweeted today. Don’t be surprised if Icahn spends more time posting and tweeting his views. He advised the SEC that “It is possible that the information that Mr. Icahn posts through the Shareholders’ Square Table website and to its members, and on Twitter, could be deemed to be material information.” He urges investors, reporters, and others to follow him online as well as his formal filings, press releases, and conference calls.
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