Icahn Abandons Apple Proxy Battle

Feb 10 2014 | 10:47am ET

Carl Icahn is calling off his proxy fight with Apple Inc.

Icahn had been pushing a non-binding shareholder resolution calling on Apple to increase its share buyback program by $50 billion. But he said today in an open letter to Apple shareholders that he sees "no reason to persist" with the measure, after an influential proxy service urged its rejection.

Icahn wrote this morning that he was "disappointed" by Institutional Shareholder Services' recommendation that Apple stockholders vote "no" on his proposal. But he said he does not "altogether disagree with their assessment and recommendation in light of recent actions taken by the company," notably its aggressive share repurchases in recent weeks. Icahn noted that, with its recent buys, Apple is "already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target."

ISS cited Apple board's "good-faith efforts and its part stewardship" in deciding against the Icahn effort. Fellow proxy advisory Egan-Jones Proxy Services also recommended the proposal's rejection, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said he would do the same. New York's five public pension funds own $1.3 billion in Apple shares.

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