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Apple to shareholders: Vote against Icahn's stock proposal

Shareholders will vote in February on investor Carl Icahn's "non-binding" proposal to increase Apple's stock buyback program to $50 billion.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
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Apple is urging its shareholders to vote against a proposal to increase the amount of money the company spends to buy back stock, according to a proxy statement filed Friday.

The proposal, made by wealthy investor Carl Icahn, asks Apple to commit to at least $50 billion of share repurchases next year. It's a "non-binding advisory resolution," meaning even if Apple shareholders approve the measure, the company would not be bound to the decision. Icahn has been steadily applying pressure for an increased buyback.

Icahn's proposal (No. 10) is one of 11 proposals Apple shareholders will be asked to vote on at the company's annual shareholder meeting, which the documents revealed will be held on February 28. The proxy statement, which Apple files annually, details compensation for both executives and board members and discusses issues shareholder will be asked to vote on at the upcoming shareholder meeting.

The board's statement in opposition to Icahn's proposal tries to reassure investors that Apple is "fully committed to returning cash to shareholders," without an increased buyback program.

The Board and management team are thoughtfully considering options for returning additional cash to shareholders and are currently seeking input from shareholders as part of the Company's regular review.

The Company's success stems from the Company's unique ability to combine world-class skills in hardware, software and services to deliver innovative products that create new markets and delight hundreds of millions of customers. This success has created tremendous value for the Company's shareholders.

With breakthrough products and services such as the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and App Store, the Company has created huge market opportunities, and the Board and management team believe the opportunities that lie ahead are just as exciting. Given such large and global markets, the Company competes with large companies around the world, many with their own significant technical capabilities and significant capital. This dynamic competitive landscape and the Company's rapid pace of innovation require unprecedented investment, flexibility and access to resources.

Successfully innovating and executing against these large opportunities also requires careful stewardship by the Board and management team, and the Company's evaluation of capital return is conducted in the context of supporting the Company's continued business success and desire to deliver attractive returns to long-term shareholders.

The note goes on to point out that Apple's board authorized an increase of its dividend and stock buyback program in 2013, increasing its share buyback authorization to $60 billion. Apple spent $23 billion to repurchase shares in the 2013 fiscal year, but has not said how much it will spend buying back stock in the 2014 fiscal year.