Investor Carl Icahn abandons Apple share buyback effort

Hand holding iphone Apple said it had repurchased $14bn of its own shares in the past two weeks

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Activist investor Carl Icahn has announced he sees "no reason to persist" in his attempt to force Apple to return more money to shareholders.

Mr Icahn had been demanding Apple buy back $50bn (£30.5bn) of its shares.

However, he said he was satisfied with the recent efforts of Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, to return cash to investors.

Apple said it had repurchased $14bn of its stock in the two weeks since the firm reported disappointing earnings.

"As Tim Cook describes them, these recent actions taken by the company to repurchase shares have been both 'opportunistic' and 'aggressive' and we are supportive," said Mr Icahn in an open letter.

Mr Icahn's announcement comes a day after a shareholder advisory service, ISS, recommended that Apple shareholders should vote against Mr Icahn's plan.

ISS said that Apple had "returned the bulk of its US-generated cash to shareholders via aggressive stock buybacks and dividends payouts".

In light of this, ISS said Apple's board's "latitude should not be constricted by a shareholder resolution that would micromanage the company's capital allocation process".

Apple's board had been scheduled to vote on Mr Icahn's proposal on 28 February.

Last month, Apple reported flat earnings, and many analysts were worried about the firm's outlook for the rest of the year.

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