Billionaire Carl Icahn sold his last shares of Netflix Inc. as the S&P 500-leading stock doubled this year, reaping a profit of least $1.6 billion in three years.
“Sold last of our $ NFLX today,” Icahn wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
The billionaire investor, 79, held 1.41 million Netflix shares as of March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, making the latest sales worth about $960 million at current prices. He paid an average $58 a share for the stock in 2012, suggesting a profit of up to $700 million on the latest transactions.
The world’s largest online subscription video service has produced an epic windfall for Icahn. Previous sales in 2013 and 2014 produced a profit of more than $900 million. At one point, he had over 5.5 million Netflix shares. Icahn said Apple Inc. represents a similar opportunity.
“Believe $ AAPL currently represents same opportunity we stated NFLX offered several years ago.” he wrote. The investor holds about 53 million Apple shares, according to Bloomberg data, worth about $6.8 billion.
Netflix’s market capitalization has soared eightfold to more than $40 billion since 2012 as the company expanded its pioneering Web-based TV service to more than 50 countries and signed up more than 62 million subscribers worldwide.
That makes the company more valuable than CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.
Netflix announced a 7-for-1 stock split on Tuesday, and is the top performing stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index this year.
Netflix fell 0.4 percent to $678.61 at the close in New York after climbing as high as a record $706.24 earlier.
The service has evolved from being solely a buyer of shows and movies to become one of the active producers of TV, documentaries and films, with a long-term budget that approaches $10 billion, according to filings.
The split takes effect July 14 and is payable to shareholders of record as of July 2, the Los Gatos, California-based company said.
Netflix telegraphed the move earlier this year, asking investors to boost the number of authorized shares to about 5 billion from 170 million. They did so at the annual meeting this month. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said at the time a lower price would make the stock more accessible.
As consumers spend more time watching video over the Internet, large media companies have attempted to replicate Netflix’s success with their own online-only services. Others have begun selling programming to Hulu and Amazon.com Inc. to help build up some competitors.
Apple had its own 7-for-1 split last year and has gained 41 percent since. Icahn has been saying the stock is undervalued and pushing for more buybacks.