Carl Celian Icahn (born February 16, 1936) is an American business magnate, investor, activist shareholder, and philanthropist. He is the founder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified conglomerate holding company based in New York City. Icahn is known for being one of the most ruthless corporate raiders of the 80s and is known as one of the activist legends.
Icahn was raised in the Far Rockaway, Queens section of New York City, where he attended Far Rockaway High School. Carl graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1957 and then entered New York University School of Medicine, but he dropped out after two years to join the army reserves.
Icahn began his career on Wall Street as a stockbroker in 1961; in 1968, he formed Icahn & Co., a securities firm that focused on risk arbitrage and options trading. In 1978, he began taking controlling positions in individual companies. He has taken substantial or controlling positions in various corporations including RJR Nabisco, TWA, Texaco, Phillips Petroleum and many other companies.
Icahn developed a reputation as a ruthless "corporate raider" after his hostile takeover of TWA in 1985. The result of that takeover was Icahn systematically selling TWA's assets to repay the debt he used to purchase the company, which was described as asset stripping. In 1988, Icahn took TWA private, gaining a personal profit of $469 million, and leaving TWA with a debt of $540 million. In 1991, Icahn sold TWA's prized London routes to American Airlines for $445 million.
In 2004, Icahn purchased a large block of stock of Mylan Laboratories, after Mylan had announced a deal to acquire King Pharmaceuticals. Icahn threatened a proxy fight over the acquisition, on the ground that the deal required Mylan to overpay. In early 2005, Mylan gave up its efforts to acquire King, but according to the management, the decision was made after it had monitored relevant facts, not due to pressure from Icahn.
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. Icahn was a director of Blockbuster until January 2010 and the chairman of Imclone, Icahn Enterprises, XO Communications, and many other companies. Icahn tried to take over Marvel Comics, coming into conflict with Avi Arad, Ronald Perelman, and Isaac Perlmutter. Marvel was instead acquired by The Walt Disney Company in late 2009.
In February 2013, Carl Icahn purchased a stake in Herbalife. This occured right after activist investor Bill Ackman launched his short campaign against the company claiming that it was a "pyramid scheme". This, eventually, prompted one of the most famous investors brawls of all time on CNBC. Over the years, Bill Ackman has kept strong on his short position on the company and Carl has kept on buying more of Herbalife. In fact, as of November 3, Carl Icahn holds a 23.05% percent stake in the company.
Source: Wikipedia. Note: Click on the picture(s) for cool animations.
ďMy opinion is that, philosophically, Iím doing the right thing in trying to shake up some of these managements. Itís a problem in America today that we are not nearly as productive as we should be. Thatís why we have the balance-of-payments problems. Itís like the fall of Rome, when half the population was on the dole.Ē
Mr. Ichan's view on management succession in America. Click here to view