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Carl Icahn
Born February 16, 1936 (1936-02-16) (age 74)
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Princeton University
Occupation Businessman:
Chairman, Financier
Spouse(s) Gail Icahn
Children Brett Icahn, Michelle Icahn

Carl Celian Icahn (born February 16, 1936) is an American financier, corporate raider, and private equity investor.



Icahn was raised in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York City, where he attended Far Rockaway High School.[1] His father was a Jewish Cantor, his mother was a schoolteacher[2]. He was educated at Princeton University (A.B., Philosophy, 1957) and New York University School of Medicine, but left prior to graduation.

Icahn began his career on Wall Street in 1961. In 1968, he formed Icahn & Co., a securities firm that focused on risk arbitrage and options trading. In 1978, he began taking control of positions in individual companies.[3] He has taken substantial or controlling positions in various corporations including: RJR Nabisco, TWA, Texaco, Phillips Petroleum, Western Union, Gulf & Western, Viacom, Uniroyal, Dan River, Marshall Field, E-II (Culligan and Samsonite), American Can, USX, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Imclone, Federal-Mogul, Fairmont Hotels, blockbuster, Kerr-McGee, Time Warner and Motorola.

Recently, Icahn was shown to be interested in the takeover of Yahoo! and the ousting of Jerry Yang from his current position as CEO to allow Microsoft to purchase the web company. [4]

In June 2008, Icahn launched The Icahn Report which campaigns for shareholder rights. It hosts United Shareholders of America where individual investors can sign up and take part.

Business interests

As of 2007, Icahn and his affiliates currently own majority positions in firms including ACF Industries, American Railcar Industries, XO Communications, Philip Services, and NYSE-listed Icahn Enterprises, formerly known as American Real Estate Partners.

Icahn is a director of Blockbuster Inc., and the Chairman of Imclone, Icahn Enterprises LP, XO Communications Inc, WestPoint Home Inc., Cadus, and American Railcar Industries. Also he is a beneficial owner of Adventrx Pharmaceuticals Inc, Vector Group Ltd and has had significant holdings in Time Warner Inc. Icahn has also tried to take over Marvel Comics, coming into conflict with Avi Arad, Ron Perelman, and Ike Perlmutter.[5]

In 2004, Icahn purchased a large block of stock in a pharmaceutical concern, Mylan Laboratories, after Mylan had announced a deal to acquire another company in that market, King Pharmaceuticals, of Bristol, Tennessee. Icahn threatened a proxy fight over the acquisition, saying that the contract required Mylan to over-pay. He also contended that Mylan's chief executive, Robert J. Coury was significantly overcompensated and that Mylan's corporate governance was otherwise badly flawed.

In early 2005, Mylan gave up its efforts to acquire King, but management said this was a result of its ongoing monitoring of relevant facts, not due to pressure from Mr. Icahn.

In 2006 Icahn sold his stake in KT&G (Korea Tobacco & Ginseng) for a substantial profit.

Icahn sold his casino interests in Nevada on 21 February 2008. They included the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie's Boulder, Arizona Charlie's Decatur, and Aquarius Casino Resort which are operated through American Entertainment Properties, a subsidiary of Icahn's major company, Icahn Enterprises. The sale price of $1.3 billion was roughly $1 billion more than he paid for the properties.

Icahn made an attempted run as a major shareholder of Time Warner owning about 3.3% of the company valued at billions of dollars. He has been actively attempting to influence the direction of Time Warner, often in conflict with its former Chief Executive, Richard Parsons. Although Time Warner recently sold 5% of its AOL division, Icahn has been pressing for additional action to increase shareholder value. On February 7, 2006, a group led by Icahn and Lazard Frères CEO Bruce Wasserstein unveiled a 343-page proposal calling for the breakup of Time Warner into four companies and stock buybacks totaling approximately $20 billion. On February 17, 2006, the Icahn-led group agreed with Time Warner to not contest the re-election of TW's slate of board members at the 2006 shareholders meeting. In exchange for the Icahn group's cooperation, Time Warner will buy back up $20 billion of stock, nominate more independent members to the board of directors, cut $1 billion of costs by 2007, and continue discussions with the Icahn group over their proposal, particularly on the future of Time Warner Cable.

Icahn's hedge funds currently own 5.6% of biotechnology company Biogen Idec. Beginning in 2007, Icahn has steadily increased his stake in Biogen, seeking to possibly acquire, break-up, and/or sell off various parts of the organization.[6] As of June, 2009, Icahn has managed to seat two of his allies on Biogen's board with the apparent goal of splitting the company into two entities and possibly replacing CEO James C. Mullen, of whom he has been highly critical.[7]

Recent developments

  • In August 2006, he bought stock in the video game publisher Take-Two Interactive. He increased his stake to 11.3% on December 21, 2009, making him the company's second largest shareholder.[8]
  • In January 2007, he purchased a 9.2% stake in Telik, Inc. (Nasdaq: TELK), a biotech company engaged in cancer research, because he believed its shares were undervalued.
  • On January 16, 2007 it was disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Icahn is the beneficial owner of 14.57%, or 6.1 million shares, of WCI Communities Inc. (NYSE: WCI) [1]. In the filing Icahn indicated that he intends to contact WCI to discuss how to "unlock the inherent value" of its shares.
  • On January 30, 2007 Motorola (NYSE: MOT) said it received notice that Icahn owns about 33.5 million shares, representing a 1.39% interest in the company and pressed for a seat on its board. But he was turned down by the majority of the stock holders in the election for Board Directors which was held on May 8.
  • On February 9, 2007, Lear Corporation's (NYSE: LEA) board of directors agreed to a $2.3 billion takeover offer from Icahn, pending a 45 day solicitation period for other offers, which it did not receive, and shareholder approval.[9][10]
  • On February 27, 2007, Icahn invested $50 million in Motricity, a North Carolina-based provider of mobile content delivery technology.
  • During April, 2007, Icahn successfully pressured Medimmune Inc (MEDI) to consider takeover bids. The company was bought out by AstraZeneca.
  • On May 7, 2007, Icahn's quest for a board seat on Motorola is effectively ended, as the company announced the next day that in a preliminary count of the votes for board members Icahn did not have enough to be elected. Icahn stated that he would not sell his shares in the company.
  • On September 14, 2007, Icahn disclosed his ownership of 8.5% of outstanding shares in business software company BEA Systems Inc. BEA Systems shares rose more than 4% after Icahn disclosed his stake in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the filing, Icahn, known for forcefully pushing an agenda at companies where he acquires ownership, suggested that BEA Systems should put itself up for sale. By September 21, Icahn increased his stake to 9.88% of BEA, and on October 3, to 11.05%, and then to 13.22% on October 4, 2007.[11] On January 16, 2008, Oracle Corporation announced it was purchasing BEA Systems.[12]
  • On February 21, 2008, Carl Icahn sold his American Casino & Entertainment Properties which owned four casinos in Southern Nevada (3 in Las Vegas, and one in Laughlin).The announcement had been made on April 23, 2007. The purchaser was an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and the price was $1.3 billion.
  • On March 24, 2008 Icahn sued Motorola as part of his efforts to gain 4 seats on Motorola's Board and force a sale of its mobile business.
  • On May 13, 2008 Carl Icahn purchased as many as 50 million shares of Yahoo, leaning toward launching a proxy contest.
  • On May 15, 2008 Icahn confirmed that he would be commencing a proxy fight to remove Yahoo's Board of Directors in response to their "irrational" actions in rejecting Microsoft's takeover bid.
  • On July 21, 2008 Icahn agreed to join Yahoo's Board of Directors in a deal that would end the proxy fight. According to the agreement, the Yahoo Board will expand by two directors to eleven members. Eight directors will stand for re-election while the remaining three seats will include Icahn and two nominees that Icahn will recommend. [13]
  • In September/October 2008 Icahn has been involved in the attempted purchase of Imclone by Bristol Myers Squibb (which was turned down) and eventual sale of Imclone to Eli Lilly in an all cash deal valued at $6.5bn. Icahn had described Bristol Myers Squibb's upwardly revised offer of $62 per share as "absurd".[14]
  • In December 2008, Icahn filed suit against Realogy over a proposed debt swap.[15]
  • On Sept. 28, 2009, XO Holdings Inc. (XOHO) rejected Icahn's offer to buy out the remaining shares of XO he doesn't own already for 55 cents a share as "substantially undervalues" company. Icahn previously attempted to buy the telecom assets from XO but dropped the bid because of shareholders opposition. A lawsuit filed by the hedge fund and minority shareholder R2 in August, 2009 alleges Icahn as director and majority owner of XO - hurt shareholders by refusing refinance of the debts owned by Icahn when capital was easily available and repeatedly denying acquiring attempts at prices several times higher than Icahn’s offer. On October 26, 2009 Icahn raised his offer to 80 cents a share. The offer expired on the same day a filling disclosed its existence.
  • On Feb. 18 , 2010, Icahn, through a subsidiary of his Icahn Enterprises LP, have acquired from Fontainebleau Las Vegas, LLC and certain affiliated entities the Fontainebleau property and improvements thereon located in Las Vegas, Nevada for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $150 million. Icahn is confident with the acquisition of the 70% complete Fontainebleau property stating that "The acquisition of the Fontainebleau property was a great opportunity to purchase a distressed asset that I believe has considerable value." [16]


Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island in New York City is named after him, as is the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science and Icahn Scholar Program at Choate Rosemary Hall, a top-tier New England prep school. This organization pays for tuition, room and board, books, and supplies for 10 students every year for four years (freshman-senior), an expense that adds up to about $160,000 per student.

Icahn made a substantial donation to his alma mater, Princeton University, to fund a genomics laboratory which bears his name, the Carl C. Icahn Laboratory at the University's Institute for Integrated Genomics. He also made a large donations to Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, of which he is a trustee, which in return named a building the Icahn Medical Institute designed by Davis Brody Bond.

His foundation, the Children's Rescue Fund, built Icahn House in The Bronx, a 65-unit complex for homeless families consisting of single pregnant women and single women with children, and operates Icahn House East and Icahn House West, both of which are homeless shelters located in New York City.

Icahn has received numerous awards, including the Starlight Foundation's Founders Award and its 1990 Man of the Year Award. He was also named Guardian Angel 2001 Man of the Year. In 2004, he was honored by the Center for Educational Innovation - Public Education Association for his work with charter schools. In 2006, he was honored with the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Effecting Change Award for his outstanding contributions to improving education.


In 2008 his net worth was US$14 billion, putting him in an eight way tie for the 46th richest man in the world.[17] In 2009 Forbes recalculated his net worth as $9 billion, but now he is in an eight way tie for the 43rd richest man in the world.

Thoroughbred horse racing

In 1985 Carl Icahn established Foxfield Thoroughbreds, a horse breeding operation. At that year's Newstead Farm Trust sale run by Fasig-Tipton, he paid $4 million for Larida, a 6-year-old mare and a record $7 million for the 4-year-old bay mare Miss Oceana who was in foal to champion sire, Northern Dancer.

Icahn's Meadow Star won the 1990 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Filly. In 1992, Foxfield ended its racing operation and became a commercial breeder. Having bred more than 140 stakes horses, in 2004 Icahn shut down Foxfield, selling all his mares and weanlings without reserve at the Keeneland Sales November breeding stock auction.

See also


  • Connie Buck, The Predator's Ball (1988); Chapter 8 ("Icahn-TWA: From Greenmailer to Manager-Owner")

External links



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