Carl Icahn Biography

Carl Celian Icahn - investorCarl Celian Icahn was born and raised in New York City.He is famous investor and trader, Founder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises. He founded Icahn & Company securities firm, Icahn Enterprises L.P., Carl C. Icahn Center for Science at Princeton University, Icahn Partners (hedge fund). Icahn is famous as “corporate raider“.On the other side he is famous as person who knows to use positive force for increased shareholder activism, to correct the incompetent corporate management. He is ranked as the 46th richest man in the world. On March 2014, Carl Icahn net worth is estimated to be 23.4 billion dollars.Even though he is 78 years old, he has no plans to get retired. Instead of that he has founded a team of more than twenty associated to help him search new companies that he could buy.

Early days
Carl Celian Icahn young 1950He grew up in a middle-class family and he got a scholarship to go to Princeton University, where he graduated and got a degree in philosophy in 1957. He also tried to find himself in medicine, but dropped out only before graduation. Later he said he didn’t like medicine because of corpses.

In 1961 he started working for Dreyfus & Company as stockbroker and seven years after that he started his finance career. He was mostly trading options on New York Stock Exchange, where he earlier bought a membership. Soon after entering into finance business, Icahn started to take the advantage of his position in the companies that were in publics’ possession to increase their values, which would lead to the increase of the value of his shares.

He became known as a tough negotiator. His opponents testified that he has enormous talent for making a good strategy and when he mixed it with persistence, his opponents wouldn’t have any choice but to accept his proposition. There are many companies that prove his talent for business: RJR Nabisco, Philips Petroleum, Western Union, Viacom, Revlon, Motorola, Time Warner and Kerr-McGee. He is also known as a very competitive person with capability to take down opponents’ defenses.

Carl Icahn Trading style:

Icahn’s strategy is to track company that has stock prices below its value, which had been caused by bad leadership. Then he would buy those stocks while their price is still going down and everybody else is selling. After he would collect enough stocks to candidate himself for a position in the board of directors, he would start making changes. Those changes usually include firing CEOs and in most of the cases, changing the structure of the company and selling its parts separately.

As a result of his strategy, a catchphrase “Icahn Lift” has been created on Wall Street. It describes the jump of the company’s stock price when Icahn starts buying it, if he believes that the company is poorly managed. By 2008, Icahn became 46th richest man in the world as he has taken over many U.S. companies, which he started doing since the 80’s. His actions favor taking over companies that are run by incompetent managers, but most of his opponents view him as the most ruthless corporate raider.
Icahn is known for being very generous in giving donation, especially to Princeton University – where he studied, health institutions and medical research.

Carl Icahn Quotes :

“Too often it’s not the most creative guys or the smartest. Instead, it’s the ones who are best at playing politics and soft-soaping their bosses. Boards don’t like tough, abrasive guys.”

“You learn in this business: It you want a friend, get a dog”

“Their earnings are way down. It’s time for management to go,”

“In life and business, there are two cardinal sins, … The first is to act precipitously without thought, and the second is to not act at all. Unfortunately the board of directors and top management of Times Warner already committed the first sin by merging with AOL, and we believe they are currently in the process of committing the second; now is not a time to move slowly and suffer the paralysis of inaction.”

“Time Warner management has offered several reasons for not completely separating the cable business and buying back Time Warner shares aggressively, … rejects management’s arguments against separation and challenges management’s capital return plan as a weak attempt to silence growing investor criticism.”

“This conglomerate concept doesn’t work, there is no synergy – just a bunch of people spending a large amount of money that should be spent on running different companies well.”

“We’re not about liquidating companies. But if you do that, why is that terrible? We’re not blowing up the factories. The person who buys it should be able to make the asset more productive.”

Carl Icahn stocks portoflio – Icahn Capital Management LP portfolio example from 2014. :

Ticker Company Current Shares
AAPL Apple Inc 52,760,848
CHK Chesapeake Energy Co… 66,450,000
EBAY eBay Inc 30,803,015
FDML Federal-Mogul Corp 121,111,976
GCI Gannett Co Inc 2,734,888
HOLX Hologic Inc 34,154,879
IEP Icahn Enterprises LP 105,842,442
NFLX Netflix, Inc. 2,665,557
NUAN Nuance Communication… 60,784,623
TLM Talisman Energy Inc 76,060,078
DELL Dell inc. 152,478,000