Hedge fund manager sues Apple, marks biggest investor challenge in years
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Apple on Thursday confronted its first major challenge from an activist shareholder in years as hedge fund manager David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital filed suit against the company and demanded it dole out a bigger piece of its US$137 billion (S$170 billion) cash pile to investors.
The unusual move comes as the world's largest technology company grapples with a tumbling share price, mounting competition in the smartphone and tablet markets and concerns about its ability to produce new breakthrough products.
Mr Einhorn, a well-known short-seller and Apple gadget fan, said in an interview with CNBC that the company harboured a"Depression-era" mentality that led it to hoard cash and invest only in the safest, lowest-yielding securities.
Apple nearly went broke in the 1990s before Steve Jobs returned and engineered a sensational turnaround, with products such as the iPhone and iPad that became must-haves for consumers around the world. The company's near-death experience has led Apple to be exceptionally conservative with its cash.