SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Activist investor Carl Icahn has raised his stake in Apple as he escalates his campaign to pressure the company into buying back more of its stock while the shares remain stuck far below their peak price.
In a Wednesday post on his Twitter account, Icahn revealed that he has poured another $500 million into Apple stock during the past two weeks. He already owned about 4.7 million Apple Inc. shares worth more than $2.5 billion.
Given the stock's trading range during the past two weeks, Icahn probably picked up another 800,000 to 1 million shares. That would still leave his total stake in the iPhone and iPad maker below 1 percent.
Icahn is urging Apple to spend $50 billion buying back its own stock during the current fiscal year ending in September.
That target would require Apple's eight-member board to up the ante on a $60 billion stock buyback program adopted nine months ago. Apple still had $37 billon available to spend under that program entering October. Regulatory filings indicate Apple spent about $5 billion of that amount buying back its stock during the first three months of this fiscal year.
The company is expected to provide a specific figure on its stock buybacks Monday when it releases its latest quarterly earnings.
Apple's stock gained $2.44 to $551.51 Wednesday. The shares peaked at $705.07 in September 2012, then sank on concerns about intensifying competition from other mobile device makers and the lack of a breakthrough product since Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs died in 2011. Apple's stock has surged by nearly 20 percent since last August when Icahn announced his initial stake in the company.