Icahn snaps up another $500M of Apple stock

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Outspoken billionaire Carl Icahn has tossed another bushel of Apple stock into his investment portfolio and suggested some new products as he tries to persuade the iPhone maker to do more to lift its market value.

In an attempt to give his arguments more credence, Icahn disclosed that he invested another $500 million in Apple Inc. in a series of purchases made Thursday.

With the latest shopping spree, Icahn has spent $1 billion on Apple stock during the past weeks to raise his total holdings in the Cupertino, Calif., company to $3.6 billion since he began buying the shares five months ago when they were still trading below $450.

Apple’s stock rose $4.67 to close at $556.18 on Thursday. Despite the recent gains, the shares remain about 20 percent below their peak reached 16 months ago.

Icahn, a longtime activist investor, has been lobbying Apple’s board to boost the stock by funneling more of the company’s $147 billion in cash toward share repurchases. Meeting Icahn’s demands would require Apple to spend more on its stock than it planned, something the board so far has been unwilling to do.

The impasse has set the stage for a Feb. 28 showdown at Apple’s annual meeting, where shareholders will vote on a non-binding proposal recommending that the board follow Icahn’s advice. Apple is urging its shareholders to vote against the proposal, saying it is already reviewing ways to return more cash to shareholders.

Icahn tried to sway Apple shareholders to his side Thursday with the release of an open letter that represented his most detailed explanation so far about why he believes the company is worth substantially more than its current market value of about $500 billion.

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