Apple sales recently have not come up to expectation, as I believe competition is becoming harder to overcome. And, of course, there is the fear that China’s present economic see-saw might get worse in the short term. That will give the jitters to many an Apple shareholder especially now that one of America’s most prominent investors has sold all his shares in the company, citing concerns over China.
Carl Icahn, who owned nearly 1 per cent of the technology giant said that Beijing’s souring attitude towards the company and a slowdown in the Chinese economy could weigh on the shares. Apple reported its first decline in sales after 13 years of explosive growth in its recent second quarter results. As a consequence, sales of the iPhone plunged by 16% to $51.2 million in the quarter and revenues dropped by 13 per cent, to $50.56 billion. Sales of the Smartphone fell by more than a quarter in China alone. Apple shares fell by 6% last Wednesday as the results underwhelmed Wall Street. The stock fell by a further 1.4 per cent to $93.49 last Friday. They were trading at more than $130 in June last year.
ICAHN Enterprises made about $2 billion from their sale of Apple shares. Mr Icahn said, ‘You worry a little bit – and maybe more than a little – about China’s attitude.’ He told CNBC that Beijing could ‘come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there,’ but despite the disposal, he believed that Tim Cook had done a good job as chief executive of Apple: ‘I have great relationship with him.’ Mr Icahn also reported that he had called to tell Mr Cook ‘and he was a little sorry obviously. I told him it was a great company.’ Mr Icahn also said that Apple shares remain ‘cheap’ despite his concerns.
The question many people will ask is if Mr Icahn believes that the shares are cheap, why then did he dispose of his entire holding in Apple?
If I were Tim Cook, I’d be more than sorry to hear this double- talk from his once prominent shareholder: I would simply be bloody furious.