Billionaire Carl Icahn can't wait to drive an Apple car

Carl Icahn in 82 Seconds
Carl Icahn in 82 Seconds

Billionaire Carl Icahn likes to do more than just fire off angry letters to corporate directors.

The legendary investor is also excited about Apple (AAPL) products that may or may not be in the works.

"I look forward to wearing the watch in the very near future and possibly driving the car in the more distant future," Icahn, one of Apple's largest and most vocal investors, told shareholders on Friday.

The comments suggest the billionaire is comfortable with the idea of Apple spending enormous amounts of money on a rumored car venture.

Icahn's blessing is noteworthy because just a few years ago the investor led the charge in publicly pushing Apple CEO Tim Cook to return more cash to shareholders. The campaign worked, with Apple buying back $57 billion of its own stock in the past year alone.

Related: What we know about the Apple car

Icahn may be talking up the prospects of an Apple car, but it's not clear one will ever emerge. Apple has not publicly admitted it's developing a car business.

However, there is mounting evidence that something's up.

Earlier this month there were reports indicating Apple had hired several hundred employees to work on a project aimed at launching an electric car. Moreover, a lawsuit filed earlier this month claims the iPhone maker is poaching car battery engineers from A123 Systems.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA), also recently acknowledged he met with Apple's acquisitions chief last year, though it's not clear what they talked about.

At the same time, Apple has hired a former Mercedes-Benz executive and there have been sightings of a mysterious sensor-filled van that was reportedly leased to Apple.

Icahn: Apple in 'category almost by itself'
Icahn: Apple in 'category almost by itself'

Icahn is also very, very bullish about the Apple Watch, which the company is expected to reveal new details on at a "special" event on March 9.

Related: Why this tech party isn't like 1999

The investor recently predicted the watch and accessories would generate an eye-popping $75 billion in annual sales by the fiscal year ending in September 2017. That's pretty ambitious considering Apple's iPad sales totaled $30 billion last year.

Optimism about Apple's product pipeline is part of the reason Icahn believes Apple should be valued at $216 a share, or roughly 67% above its current price.

Icahn's bet on Apple has helped offset other, less timely investments in the energy industry.

The billionaire's holding company, Icahn Enterprises (IEP), said Friday it swung to a fourth-quarter loss due largely to the "precipitous decline in oil prices." Icahn said Apple's strong performance "softened the impact" of falling oil "and hopefully will continue to do so."

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