When Carl Icahn was a big investor in Apple, he wrote an annual letter to Tim Cook, its C.E.O., urging him to spend the company’s cash on buying back its own stock.
“There is nothing short term about my intentions here,” he wrote in the first letter, in October, 2013.
In October, 2014, he wrote that “Apple is one of the best investments we have ever seen from a risk reward perspective,” and that, while he was urging a share buyback, he was also eager “to preemptively diffuse any cynical criticism that you may encounter with respect to our request.”
In a letter of May, 2015, he said that Apple was “very much a long term growth story from our perspective.” The company represented “one of the greatest growth stories in corporate history, as well as one of the greatest opportunities ever for a company to invest in itself by repurchasing its shares.”
A year later, after the company had spent eighty-seven billion dollars buying back its stock, Icahn announced that he had sold most of his Apple shares, for an over-all profit of around two billion dollars.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and you’re starting to develop a business model.
-from New Yorker