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Even Icahn't Save Apple

Stocks in this article: AAPL IEP

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Carl Icahn is possibly today's most famous corporate raider -- a modern day Sir Larry Wildman, without the cool accent. Or eloquence. Or good looks. Or tact.

Like him or not, though, he and his tactics have been effective over the years and his publicly traded partnership, Icahn Enterprises (IEP), has delivered outstanding returns to shareholders.

Except with its Apple (AAPL) investment.

Icahn's announcement of a $1.5 billion stake in the company came via Twitter last August, when Apple was trading around $450 per share. The initial investment came as a result of research and advice provided by Carl's Jr -- Icahn's son Brett. Apple's stock immediately popped 5% and continued levitating above $500, all the way to its recent high of $570 on Dec. 23. Icahn's seal of approval was one thing -- it put an imaginary floor under the stock for the nervous nellies -- but his promise to strong-arm Tim Cook into sharing the company's cash hoard with investors added additional appeal.

It just hasn't worked. While Tim Cook and his board are under no obligation to listen to Carl Icahn (he owns less than 1% of outstanding shares), I do believe their reaction is indicative of a more serious problem.

The message being clearly sent by Cook and interpreted by Icahn and other shareholders is: "You are not that important." Do you want to own the stock of a company whose share price is not its top priority?

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