Carl Icahn

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Carl Icahn
BornCarl Celian Icahn
(1936-02-16) February 16, 1936 (age 78)
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materPrinceton University
OccupationFounder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises
Net worthIncreaseUS$26 billion (September 2014)[1]
Spouse(s)Liba Trejbal (m. 1979–99)
Gail Golden (m. 1999)
ChildrenBrett Icahn (with Trejbal)
Michelle Icahn (with Trejbal)
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Carl Icahn
BornCarl Celian Icahn
(1936-02-16) February 16, 1936 (age 78)
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materPrinceton University
OccupationFounder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises
Net worthIncreaseUS$26 billion (September 2014)[1]
Spouse(s)Liba Trejbal (m. 1979–99)
Gail Golden (m. 1999)
ChildrenBrett Icahn (with Trejbal)
Michelle Icahn (with Trejbal)

Carl Celian Icahn (born February 16, 1936) is an American businessman, activist shareholder and investor. He is the majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified holding company.


Icahn was raised in the Far Rockaway, Queens section of New York City, where he attended Far Rockaway High School.[2] His family was of Jewish descent.[3][4] His father was a "dogmatic atheist"[5] and a frustrated opera singer who settled on being a cantor, before becoming a substitute teacher. His mother also worked as a schoolteacher.[6] He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1957 and then joined New York University School of Medicine, but he dropped out after two years to join the army.[7][8][9]

Business career and interests[edit]

Icahn began his career on Wall Street as a stockbroker in 1961 and 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.[2] 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's, E-II (Culligan and Samsonite), American Can, USX, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Imclone, Federal-Mogul, Fairmont Hotels, Blockbuster, Kerr-McGee, Time Warner, Motorola, and Herbalife.

Icahn developed a reputation as a ruthless "corporate raider" after his hostile takeover of TWA in 1985.[10] 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.[11]

Icahn also attempted the grand prize of U.S. Steel, launching a hostile takeover for 89% of the industrial giant for $7 billion ($15.1 billion in 2013) in late 1986. He was finally rebuffed by CEO David Roderick on January 8, 1987.[12]

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

In 2007, Icahn and his affiliates owned 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 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 seeking 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 Time Warner's slate of board members at the 2006 shareholders meeting. In exchange for the Icahn group's cooperation, Time Warner would 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.

In 2008, Icahn showed interest in the takeover of Yahoo! and the ousting of Jerry Yang from his position as CEO to allow Microsoft to purchase the web company.[13]

Icahn sold his casino interests in Nevada on February 21, 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.

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, WestPoint Home, Cadus, and American Railcar Industries. He is a beneficial owner of Adventrx Pharmaceuticals, Vector Group and has had significant holdings in Time Warner. Icahn tried to take over Marvel Comics, coming into conflict with Avi Arad, Ron Perelman, and Ike Perlmutter.[14] Marvel ended up being acquired by The Walt Disney Company in late 2009.

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 company.[15] 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.[16][dated info]

In July 2010, Icahn acquired a 14 percent stake in Mentor Graphics. Based on this acquisition, Mentor Graphics signed a Poison Pill provision. As of September 2010, Icahn owns just less than 15 percent of Mentor Graphics. On February 22, 2011 he made an offer to buy Mentor Graphics for about $1.86 billion in cash in a move to push other suitors to declare themselves. On October 31, 2012 Icahn bought 5.5 million shares of the internet video service provider Netflix taking a 10% stake in the company.[17]

In February 2013 Forbes listed Icahn as one of the 40 Highest-Earning hedge fund managers.[18]

In July 2013 Icahn started an attempt to acquire Dell Inc.

On August 13, 2013 Icahn announced that his new stock pick is Apple, pushing the stock 5% up which breaks its 200-day moving average for the first time in the year.

In October 2013, Icahn acquired around 61 million shares in Talisman Energy prompting shares in the ailing Canadian oil producer to surge. He also announced he would seek a seat on the board of the company.[19]

In November 2013, Icahn disclosed he had acquired a 12.5% interest in Hologic, a medical device and diagnostics manufacturer. He subsequently influenced the board to increase its membership by two, which were filled by directors supported by Icahn (each newly appointed director is a managing director of one of Icahn's holding companies).

Business acquisition timeline[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Icahn has been married twice.

In 1979, he married Liba Trejbal, a Czech ballerina from the former Czechoslovakia.[51][52][53] They separated in 1993 and divorced in 1999 after years of litigation. Liba had sought to invalidate a prenuptial agreement she had signed prior to their marriage claiming duress as she was pregnant at the time.[54] Liba originally fought Icahn's offer of roughly $1.5 million a year because he was worth billions at the time and eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.[53][55] They have two children, Brett (b. 1979) and Michelle (b. 1982).[51]

In 1999, he married his longtime assistant and former broker, Gail Golden.[53] She has two children, Shana L. Golden and Christie R. Golden, from a prior marriage.[51]


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 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 contribution 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 large contributions to Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, of which he is a trustee, which in return not only named a building the Icahn Medical Institute designed by Davis Brody Bond, but also, in 2013, renamed the Mount Sinai School of Medicine as the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The genomics institute led by Eric Schadt was also renamed and is now the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology.

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.

Financial status[edit]

As of September 2014, his net worth is estimated to be $26 billion.[1]

King Icahn[edit]

In 1993, Mark Stevens wrote a book on Icahn's life, titled King Icahn.[56]

Thoroughbred horse racing[edit]

In 1985 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.


  1. ^ a b "Forbes - Carl Icahn". September 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b About Me, The Icahn Report. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  3. ^ "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 11-20". Jpost. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Berrin, Danielle (March 19, 2010). "Jewish billionaire Carl Icahn wants to buy all of Lionsgate". JewishJournal. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ BUSINESS: Icahn could tower over Stratosphere. 1997-06-27. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "#53 Carl Icahn". Forbes. 
  9. ^ The Icahn Report
  10. ^ 10 Questions for Carl Icahn by Barbara Kiviat, TIME magazine, Feb. 15, 2007
  11. ^ Grant, Elaine X. (October 2005), "TWA – Death Of A Legend" St Louis Magazine
  12. ^
  13. ^ Schmidt: Independent Yahoo better for competition - Yahoo! News
  14. ^ Comic Wars by Dan Raviv, Broadway Books, April 2002
  15. ^ Biogen Idec appears to be in Icahn's sights
  16. ^ Icahn Places Two Allies on the Biogen Idec Board
  17. ^
  18. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2013), "The 40 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers & Traders 2013", Forbes 
  19. ^ Anna Driver (8 October 2013). "Talisman Energy shares surge as Carl Icahn acquires stake". Reuters. 
  20. ^ Icahn stake raises chance of Take-Two buyout, by Gabriel Madway, Reuters, December 21, 2009
  21. ^ Lear agrees to Icahn buyout, may seek other offers, by David Bailey, Reuters, February 9, 2007
  22. ^ Lear Announces Expiration of Solicitation Period for Alternative Acquisition Proposal, Lear Corporation Press Release, March 27, 2007
  23. ^ Icahn further raises BEA stake to 13.22 percent, Reuters, October 3, 2007
  24. ^ Oracle To Buy BEA Systems For About $8.5 Bln.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Icahn sues Motorola for access to documents". Reuters. March 25, 2008. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Yahoo! Announces Settlement with Carl Icahn: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
  29. ^ Eli Lilly to buy ImClone for more than $6B: Associated Press[dead link]
  30. ^ Prasad, Sakthi (2008-12-03). "Icahn sues Realogy over debt deal". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  31. ^ Yahoo: Icahn Quits Board, Having Accomplished...Not Much
  32. ^ Icahn Cans Yahoo
  33. ^ "Icahn Enterprises Acquires Fontainebleau Property in Las Vegas - NEW YORK, February 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/". Nevada, New York: Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  34. ^ "News Headlines". CNBC. 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  35. ^[dead link]
  36. ^ "Lawson Software's new shareholder: Carl Icahn". Star Tribune (Minneapolis). 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  37. ^ "Icahn Reports 6.9% Stake In Mentor Graphics, Seeks Mgmt Talks". The Wall Street Journal. 2010-05-27. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Mentor Graphics, Carl Icahn, EDA, Vendor | Mentor urges shareholders to nix Icahn proxy". Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  39. ^ "UPDATE 3-Icahn takes 9 pct stake in Clorox, shares soar". Reuters. February 11, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Icahn makes a $10.2B bid for Clorox: It's more than bleach". USA Today. 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  41. ^ "RIM Shares Jump Amid Rumors of Icahn Stake". The New York Times. 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  42. ^ "Exclusive: 'RIM is Not on Our Radar,' says Carl Icahn". CNBC. 2011-10-17. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  43. ^ "Netflix shares soar after Icahn reports 10 percent stake". 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ Poornima Gupta and Edwin Chan (August 1, 2013). "Icahn sues Dell in latest attempt to foil buyout". Reuters. 
  46. ^ "Carl Icahn Discloses ‘Large' Stake in Apple in Tweet". Bloomberg. 
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ "As Apple shares fall, Icahn buys another $500 million". Reuters. January 28, 2014. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ a b c Auletta Ken (March 20, 2006). "Annals of Communications: The Raid". The New Yorker
  52. ^ Slater, Robert (1999). The Titans of Takeover. Washington: Beard Books. p. 83.
  53. ^ a b c Business Wekk: "Icahn: The Once And Future Dealmaker" June 11, 2000
  54. ^ Brede, Scott (May 3, 1999). "A Wall Street Icon's Divorce War". The Connecticut Law Tribune.
  55. ^ Smith, Gayle Rosenwald (March 15, 1999). "Couples Take Divorce Out Of The Courtroom And Reinvent The Way It's Settled"
  56. ^ "King Icahn: The Biography of a Renegade Capitalist". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]