Cash-rich technology giant Apple (AAPL) needs to find a way to distribute its cash to shareholders, instead of sticking to the Depression-like mentality that prompts the company to hoard equity, fund manager David Einhorn told CNBC on Thursday.
In an interview on "Squawk Box,"Greenlight Capital's founder defended his decision to file suit against Apple over a proposal to eliminate preferred stock. Einhorn urged shareholders to vote against the proxy, branding Apple's tactics as symptomatic of someone who has suffered through a trauma.
"Apple is a phenomenal company filled with talented people creating iconic products that consumers around the world love," Einhorn said. "But Apple has a problem, we think. It has a cash problem."
Investors and analysts have frequently taken aim at Apple's refusal to distribute its sizeable pile of cash. The company amassed $23 billion in operating cash in its latest quarter, ending the period with a whopping $137.1 billion in net cash.
Likening the company's behavior to his grandmother's hoarding of money, Einhorn said Apple is acting like "someone who's gone through traumas ... they sometimes feel they can never have cash."
Einhorn's critique echoed that of Topeka Capital Markets. In a research note last month, the firm said Apple was "clearly undergoing a shift in its shareholder base; however, we believe a much more significant return of cash is necessary to attract more value-oriented investors."
Greenlight's Einhorn said that he understood Apple's impulse to keep cash in the event of a rainy day, and its need for "strategic flexibility and comfort money."
However, he added, "at the same time shareholders can receive the value that is embedded in the balance sheet."
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