NEW YORK (Reuters) - Activist billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Thursday on CNBC that he would consider a proxy fight with iPad maker Apple Inc if the company rejected his proposal to use its $150 billion in cash to buy back company shares.
Icahn said he does not personally want a seat on Apple's board at this time, but said if the company balks at his proposed buyback program he would "test the waters" with other shareholders and "judge at that time" whether to pursue a proxy battle.
Icahn, one of the best known managers in the $2.25 trillion hedge fund industry, said he had purchased Apple stock at an average price of $440 per share.
He reiterated that his criticism of Apple is not related to its current chief executive, Tim Cook, but to the board of directors, which he said needs to change.
Icahn also responded to an earlier tweet by PIMCO chief Bill Gross about how Icahn should "leave Apple alone," saying the bond manager "certainly has a right to his opinion."
Icahn also said that nutritional supplements company Herbalife is "still very undervalued."
(Reporting By Katya Wachtel; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)