Carl Icahn is ending his campaign against Apple.

Carl Icahn is ending his campaign against Apple. (Associated Press / February 10, 2014)

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In a letter to Apple shareholders published on Monday, activist investor Carl Icahn announced he was dropping his shareholder proposal that would have asked Apple Inc. to buy back $50 billion of stock this year.

The move came after an influential advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, weighed in on the debate by telling shareholders they should vote against Icahn's proposal.

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But Icahn also pointed to Apple's accelerated pace of stock buyback, recently disclosed by Chief Executive Tim Cook. He said the company has bought back $14 billion of its stock in the past two weeks. 

ISS estimated that Apple would likely be on a pace to buy back $32 billion of its stock this year. 

"We see no reason to persist with our nonbinding proposal, especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target," Icahn said in the letter.

The move ends a campaign by Icahn that began last August when he announced he had bought considerable stock in Apple. Although the company had announced a plan earlier in 2013 to spend $100 billion on dividends and stock buybacks, Icahn said the company was undervalued and needed to buy back even more. 

 

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