Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who was among Apple’s largest outside shareholders, said on Thursday that he no longer holds a position in the technology company.

“We no longer have a position in Apple,” he said on CNBC, a US business news television network, adding that he still believes it is a “great company”. Mr Icahn cited concerns about China’s attitude towards the company, saying that Beijing could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there”.

Mr Icahn had previously held a 45.8m share stake in the California technology company, which is worth roughly $4bn, according to Bloomberg data.

Mr Icahn had successfully pushed the technology company to use its large cash holdings to give more money back to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks. Apple said earlier this week that it plans to spend a cumulative total of $250bn of cash in such operations by March 2018.

It has been a tough week for Apple’s stock after the world’s biggest publicly traded company by market value disclosed its first quarterly revenue fall in 13 years and the first-ever decline in iPhone sales.

The shares were down 1.5 per cent on Thursday, and are down 8.5 per cent this year.

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