Einhorn ups his stake in Apple after buyback

BILLIONAIRE investor David Einhorn said yesterday he had increased his stake in Apple, following an announcement of a massive share buyback, but told the company he is eagerly expecting the “next blockbuster product,”

In a conference call for his Cayman Islands-based reinsurer Greenlight Capital, Einhorn did not specify when the hedge fund added to its Apple position or the size of its current holdings. The most recent filings – for the end of 2012 – show that Greenlight’s Apple shares before Einhorn upped his investment were worth around $600m (£387.5m).

Einhorn, one of the $2 trillion hedge fund industry’s most closely watched investors, had been pushing Apple to return some of its massive cash pile to investors in recent months.

He has even taken the iPhone maker to court over Apple’s proposals for granting shares, and has been the figurehead of a campaign to encourage the company to return a sizeable chunk of its vast cash pile.

However, yesterday he said that Apple took a “major step forward” by issuing $17bn in bonds last month, and that its recent plan to return $100bn to shareholders via an increase in its dividend and share buybacks is a “vastly more shareholder-friendly” policy than it had a few months ago.

At the end of April, Apple made a bold bid to get on the right side of shareholders who had seen its share price decline from $700 to $400 since last September, with the biggest share buyback in history.

“We’ve added to our Apple position. Now we just wait for the release of Apple’s next blockbuster product,” he said.

The stock purchase comes despite Apple shares falling 17 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, which led to the biggest loss in the Greenlight investment portfolio in the period.