NEW YORK (AFP) – Corporate raider Carl Icahn said Tuesday he has taken a “large position” in Apple, calling the U.S. tech giant “extremely undervalued.”
Icahn, who is in the midst of a fierce battle over computer maker Dell and has a history of taking stakes in firms to seek shakeups, announced his move on Twitter.
“We currently have a large position in APPLE,” he tweeted. “We believe the company to be extremely undervalued. Spoke to [Apple chief executive] Tim Cook today. More to come.”
In a second tweet moments later, Icahn said he would press Apple to increase its stock buyback, in which the company purchases its own shares in a bid to boost its value.
“Had a nice conversation with Tim Cook today. Discussed my opinion that a larger buyback should be done now. We plan to speak again shortly,” Icahn tweeted.
Apple shares, which had been flat most of the day, jumped on the news and at 1907 GMT were up 4.5 percent at $488.07.
Asked about the Icahn action, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said in a statement: “We appreciate the interest and investment of all our shareholders. Tim had a very positive conversation with Mr. Icahn today.”
Shares in Apple last year surged above $700 but have been in a deep slump over concerns the maker of the iPhone and iPad has been losing its edge in innovation.
Apple remains the most valuable publicly traded company with a market capitalization of more than $440 billion despite its steep decline in recent months.
Earlier this year, Apple yielded to pressure from the hedge fund Greenlight Capital, agreeing to return some $100 billion to shareholders over the next two years, including $60 billion in share repurchases.
Apple shares posted gains Monday after a report saying the California tech giant was set to announce its next iPhone at a September 10 event.
The Dow Jones news website AllThingsD reported Sunday that Apple scheduled an event next month where it will announce its newest iPhone in an effort to regain ground lost to Samsung and other smartphone makers, most of which use the Google Android operating system.
Speculation has centered around whether Apple will shift its strategy to include a lower-cost handset to appeal to more consumers, especially in emerging markets.
A recent IDC survey showed Apple’s share of the global smartphone market slipped to 13.2 percent in the second quarter, from 16.6 percent a year ago, while Android’s share rose to 79.3 percent.