File this one under, “huh?”
CNBC reported Monday that billionaire hedge-fund investor Julian Robertson sold all of his shares in Apple because he’d recently read a biography of founder Steve Jobs, and found the former CEO of Apple to be a “really awful person.”
Robertson admits that the stock did very well for him, but would rather “let someone else make the money from now on,” as he said on CNBC’s investment show, Closing Bell.
While it’s not mentioned which biography Robertson read, it caused a crisis of consciousness, of sorts, for the one percenter.
“I came to the conclusion that it was unlikely that a man as really awful as I think that Steve Jobs was, could possibly create a great company for the long term,” he said. “I just don’t believe bad guys do well in the long run.”
In an interesting twist of logic, Robertson also said that were Steve Jobs still alive, he’d still be an Apple investor.
“There’s no question that—and I think if he were still there, I’d still be in it,” said Robertson. “I think he’s one of the great geniuses of the world. But—he’s not the kind of guy I think that would develop a long-standing company.”
Wild, right? While I can see not wanting to invest in a company for ethical or moral reasons, I’m not sure Apple qualifies as exceptionally unethical or evil, as corporations go. The Cupertino-based tech company has been involved in making its flagship devices more environmentally friendly, and has even made some steps to help improve labor conditions for Chinese factory workers involved in making iPhones.
Sure, Steve Jobs could, by all accounts, be fairly awful, but Apple isn’t Steve Jobs. The company employs thousands of people across the globe, and is headed up by one of the nicer dudes in the corporate scene, Tim Cook. Surely that’s a good enough reason to keep hold of stock that is doing well enough, right?
Julian Robertson disagrees, and has the billions of dollars to prove his ability. It’s way more than I have.