Einhorn wins ruling against Apple in cash pile fight

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge handed outspoken hedge fund manager David Einhorn a victory in his court battle with Apple Inc on Friday, blocking the iPhone maker from moving forward with a shareholder vote on a controversial proposal to limit the company's ability to issue preferred stock.

United States (US) District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan granted a motion by Mr Einhorn's Greenlight Capital for a preliminary injunction stopping the vote on that proposal.

The vote was scheduled for Feb 27 as part of the company's annual stockholders' meeting.

Greenlight sued Apple on Feb 7 as part of a broader pitch to unlock more of Apple's US$37 billion (S$46 billion) in cash for shareholders.

Mr Einhorn has argued Apple should issue preferred stock with a perpetual 4 per cent dividend.

The lawsuit challenged a measure called Proposal No. 2 that Apple put forward that would eliminate Apple's power to issue preferred shares without a shareholder vote.

Sullivan said Greenlight and another investor who also sued Apple "are likely to succeed on the merits and face irreparable harm if the vote on Proposal No. 2 is permitted to proceed'. Representatives for Apple and Mr Einhorn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr Einhorn's lawsuit contended Apple violated US Securities and Exchange Commission rules by "bundling" the preferred shares item with two other unrelated matters into one proxy proposal.

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