Apple 'Cheerleader' Icahn Dumps All His Stock

Billionaire is worried about China's influence, barriers against company
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2016 11:42 AM CDT
Apple 'Cheerleader' Icahn Dumps All His Stock
In this Oct. 11, 2007, file photo, Carl Icahn speak in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

Just a few years ago, Carl Icahn opened his wallet to invest in Apple, calling such a move a "no-brainer," and became what the Guardian calls a "huge cheerleader" for the tech company. But that all changed this week as the billionaire investor made a decision to dump his entire stake, citing interference from China—Apple's second-largest market—and worries that the country would keep putting up barriers to Apple doing business there. (One such barrier: China "mysteriously suspended" the iTunes movies and iBook stores earlier this month.) "They're basically … a benevolent dictatorship," he said, though "I don't know if benevolent is the right word." And so "we no longer have a position in Apple," Icahn said in a CNBC interview Thursday, per Reuters.

"Tim Cook did a great job," he continued. "I called him this morning to tell him that and he was a little sorry, obviously. But I told him … it's a great company." Forbes notes that Icahn's trade wasn't a total shock, as he had started getting rid of large chunks of shares last year (he sold off $700 million worth of shares late last year). What he just sold off amounted to a nearly 1% stake, per the Los Angeles Times. The 80-year-old said he made about $2 billion on Apple. But is he out for good? Icahn said he'd get back into Apple if China "basically steadied." (Apple this week experienced a drop in quarterly revenue for the first time 13 years.)

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