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CHART: For all his big ideas, Carl Icahn's stake in Apple is small

More words than weight

Carl Icahn (Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty)

Carl Icahn (Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty)

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is back to his activist ways again, and this time he has some ideas for what Apple’s next move should be.

In an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, posted to Icahn’s website Thursday, he outlined a share buyback program in which Apple would repurchase $150 billion of its own stock in order to improve company growth.

Icahn Enterprises’ 4.7 million Apple shares are valued at about $2.5 billion. It’s an impressive amount in the eyes of the average person, which may have helped Icahn command more media attention for his letter to Cook. On Thursday, CNBC gave Icahn a full half hour to make his case on-air.

But as Andrew Wilkinson—chief economic strategist with Miller Tabak & Co. pointed out in a research note Thursday, for all of Icahn’s attention-grabbing behaviour, his stake in Apple is quite small compared to the number of shares owned by other major stakeholders. By comparison, Apple’s largest investor, BlackRock Inc., owns 47 million shares valued at $23.5 billion.

To put these figures into perspective, in the graph below Miller Tabak demonstrates where Icahn sits in the grand scheme of major Apple investors: