Billionaire Carl Icahn Sells His Entire Apple Stake, Cites ‘Tsunami’ of Trouble in China Market

By Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
April 28, 2016 Updated: May 1, 2016

Apple Inc. has had a rough week. Carl Icahn, one of the company’s biggest supporters, sold his entire stake, 2 days after Apple’s worst quarterly earnings report since 2003. 

Icahn told CNBC on April 28 that he sold his stake in the company amid concerns about Apple’s challenges in the Chinese market. He said he worries a “tsunami” of trouble could affect Apple in China.

“A lot of people have tried and a lot of people have failed,” Icahn said of previous attempts to succeed in China, which is the company’s second biggest market after the United States.

But Icahn said he still believes Apple is a “great company—one of the greatest our economy has seen.”

He also commended Apple CEO Tim Cook for doing a “great job.”

“There are very few CEOs I would say that about,” Icahn told CNBC.

He also said he would look at buying Apple stock in the future when China’s market is “steady.” Icahn owned nearly 46 million shares of Apple at the end of 2015.

After Icahn’s revelation, Apple stock decreased by 3 percent, down 9 percent since the start of the week. Shares sat at $94.81 on April 28.

Apple hasn’t been doing well since the company reported the worst quarterly results since 2003, partly due to the huge plunge in China sales. The tech giant reported a revenue drop of 13 percent when compared with the second quarter of 2015, down from over $58 billion to about $50.5 billion.

“Our team executed extremely well in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in an April 26 press release.

Two thirds of Apple’s business relies on iPhone sales, but the company sold 16 percent fewer iPhones than last year. It sold 19 percent fewer iPads and 12 percent fewer Macs.

Correction: In a previous version of this article, the number of shares Icahn owned was misstated as close to 46,000. His stake was close to 46 million.