Gadfly investor Carl Icahn didn’t figure as prominently in Apple’s first-quarter earnings call as he presumably would have liked. But the company’s leadership did speak to the idea of a larger stock buyback without directly addressing Icahn’s incessant calls for one.
And, as one might imagine, Apple’s message was largely the same as the one delivered in its latest proxy statement: We’ve already increased the size of our dividend and stock buyback program to $100 billion and we’ll continue to consider all our options for returning cash to shareholders.
Asked during the call if it was time to accelerate the buyback, CEO Tim Cook noted once again that Apple has been buying back stock and will continue to do so as it sees fit. “We’re a big believer in buying back stock,” Cook said. “[That] doesn’t change if the stock goes up or down.”
Translation: We prefer to take a measured approach to buybacks, rather than have our hand forced by a querulous billionaire investor — no disrespect, Carl.