Billionaire investors Carl Icahn and Bill Gross are having a bit of a Twitter spat. It all started when Gross, the manager of PIMCO, the world’s largest mutual fund, criticized Icahn for pushing Apple to buy back $150 billion in stock. Icahn, who recently increased his stake in Apple to 4.7 million shares, has been publicly advocating the move, saying it would immediately increase earnings per share by 33%, and more than double the stock price within three years.
This was enough to prompt Gross to Tweet, “Icahn should leave Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates.” Gross, for his part, was quick to follow up that Bill and his wife are “great paragons,” and that he too should spend more time on philanthropy. That did not stop Icahn however from firing back, “If you really want to do good, why not join givingpledge.org like Gates, I and many others have?”
The Giving Pledge, which encourages the super rich to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes, was started by Gates and Warren Buffett, and has 114 individuals and couples that have signed on so far. Gross, whose estimated wealth is around $2.3 billion, has endowed a foundation to support his philanthropic work with $293 million in assets. The bulk of his giving has gone to support health-related causes, including $20 million to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, $20 million to the international medical charity Mercy Ships, and $25 million to Doctors without Borders. He is not publicly listed as having signed the Giving Pledge, but perhaps this latest nudge from Icahn will prompt him to do so.
Icahn, whose investments have earned him more than $20 billion, recently pledged $150 million to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he sits on the board of trustees, and has previously given approximately $50 million. He has also given $42 million to six Icahn Charter Schools, created a scholarship program to send promising students who are financially challenged to a prestigious boarding school in Connecticut, and endowed a laboratory at Princeton University’s Institute for Integrated Genomics.