Carl Icahn says Apple stock should be worth $216 per share today, not in the future

Activist investor Carl Icahn. | Source: Forbes

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Activist investor Carl Icahn this week once again heaped praise on Apple, saying the company's stock continues to be vastly undervalued and should be trading today at a price of $216.

Icahn continues to see the company's share price as an opportunity for Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and his board of directors to buy back more shares of its own stock. In an open letter published this week, he praised Cook for saying that he wants to give money back to shareholders.

"This position with respect to excess cash is great news for shareholders, and we look forward to the capital return program update in April, anticipating it will include a large increase to share repurchases," Icahn wrote.

As of the end of last quarter, Apple had a massive $179 billion in cash. As its money has continued to grow, Apple has increased its capital reinvestment program, authorizing share repurchases and dividend payments.

Apple has signaled that it will revisit and update its dividend and buyback plans in April, as it has done in years past.

And although shares of AAPL stock are trading at all-time highs, Icahn still believes the stock is dramatically undervalued. As such, he believes Cook and his team would be wise to spend even more money to repurchase shares at their current value.

The billionaire said in his open letter that he believes the market should value Apple at a price to earnings ratio of at least 20 times. Together with net cash of $22 per share, that would value Apple at $216 per share.

"This is not a future price target," Icahn wrote. "$216 is what we think Apple is worth TODAY."

Icahn said last month that he was planning to increase his price target for Apple, which was previously set at $203. That assessment was reached last year, before the iPhone maker reported a blockbuster holiday quarter in which the company earned $18 billion in profit.