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Icahn says would 'never' push Apple to buy Nuance

CEO Tim Cook talks about Siri during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
CEO Tim Cook talks about Siri during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn said Monday that he would not push technology giant Apple Inc. to buy Nuance Communications Inc., maker of the software that runs the Siri feature on Apple's iPhones.

"That is something I would never micromanage and never even think of telling Tim Cook," Icahn said at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in reference to Apple's chief executive. "It has zero to do with the fact that I'm involved with Apple," he said.

Icahn has sizeable stakes in both companies. His firm owned 3.88 million shares of Apple as of September 30 and a 16.9 percent stake in Nuance as of August 29, regulatory filings show.

"I don't have the expertise or the presumption to say I have the expertise to tell him to do that," Icahn said at the Summit, held at the Reuters office in New York.

Icahn, who has pushed Apple's Cook since August to agree to a $150 billion buy-back, said in a letter to Cook made public on October 24 that he had increased his stake to 4.7 million shares.

Nuance appointed Icahn's son Brett and his investment partner, David Schechter, to its board of directors, the company said on October 8.

Icahn opened a 9.27 percent stake in Nuance on April 1, according to regulatory filings. When he raised his stake to 16.03 percent in August, Nuance adopted a stockholder rights plan - or poison pill - to reduce the chance of any investor gaining control.

Apple shares traded down 1.2 percent to close at $518.62 per share on Monday. Nuance shares were down 0.43 percent at $16.21.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

(Editing by Dan Grebler)

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