Business digest: Icahn retreats on Apple buyback push

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 2:25 pm, Thu Jun 5, 2014.

Activist investor Carl Icahn is backing off his proposal that Apple spend $50 billion buying back its own stock during the current fiscal year that ends in September. Icahn told fellow Apple shareholders Monday in a letter that he sees no reason to persist in light of the Cupertino, Calif., company’s recent buybacks and a recommendation from an influential firm that gives advice to big shareholders. Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., or ISS, said in a report that Apple shareholders should vote against Icahn’s non-binding proposal. The company said that while Apple Inc.’s board “has failed to articulate a strategy for addressing its long-term capital needs,” the Icahn proposal would micromanage the technology company’s capital allocation process.

McDonald’s says bad weather hurt its U.S. sales performance in January, representing another setback as the fast-food chain fights to fend off rivals and get its menu right. The world’s biggest hamburger chain said Monday that sales fell 3.3 percent at established U.S. locations last month. Its global sales figure rose 1.2 percent, however, lifted by improvements in Europe and the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning against eating Uncle Ben’s rice products served at schools, restaurants, hospitals and other food service institutions after children in three states had skin reactions and other symptoms that were linked to the rice. Mars Foodservices of Greenville, Miss., is recalling 5- and 25-pound bags of the rice. The bags are mostly sold to food service establishments, but they are also available to consumers over the Internet. Uncle Ben’s ready-to-eat, boxed, bagged and cup products in grocery stores are not linked to the illnesses and have not been recalled.

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