Institutional Shareholder Services recommended on Sunday that Apple shareholders vote against a cash-management proposal put forth by activist investor Carl Icahn.
“While the board has failed to articulate a strategy for addressing its long-term capital needs, it has returned the bulk of its U.S.-generated cash to shareholders via aggressive stock buybacks and dividends payouts,” ISS said in a report. “In light of these good-faith efforts and its past stewardship, the board’s latitude should not be constricted by a shareholder resolution that would micromanage the company’s capital allocation process.”
Icahn, who has amassed several billion dollars worth of Apple shares, says the company has been “almost irrational” in its cash management, and has called on the company to repurchase $50 billion in shares during its current fiscal year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said this week that Apple has stepped up its stock-buyback efforts, repurchasing $14 billion over the past two weeks. He also indicated that Apple would revisit its cash-management strategy in the March/April time frame.
Icahn’s proposal is due for a vote at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, which is set for Feb. 28.