Who is Carl Icahn 101: The Legendary Activist Investor's Journey, Wall Street Success, and Philanthropic Ventures

Who is Carl Icahn

Who is Carl Icahn: discover the journey of this legendary American activist investor, his Wall Street accomplishments, and philanthropic endeavors. Learn about Icahn's diversified investments, corporate strategies, and the impact he's made in the business world.

Carl Icahn: The Iconic Activist Investor and Trailblazer of Wall Street

Carl Icahn, a legendary American businessman and investor, is widely known as the founder and controlling shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified conglomerate holding company situated in Sunny Isles Beach. A pioneer of activist investing, Icahn has made a name for himself by taking significant stakes in companies, advocating for corporate policy changes, and applying pressure on management to enact reforms that benefit shareholders.

As one of the most successful investors on Wall Street, Icahn has played a crucial role in transforming the investment strategy for hedge funds and solidifying his status as an iconoclast. His influence in the world of finance began in the 1980s when he gained notoriety as a "corporate raider," particularly after profiting from the hostile takeover and asset stripping of Trans World Airlines.

Ranked among the Forbes 400, Carl Icahn boasts a net worth estimated between $17 and $24 billion. An influential figure in American finance, Icahn has held numerous prestigious titles, including board chairman of Icahn and CEO of its subsidiary, Icahn Capital. Since 2011, he no longer manages money for outside clients, but investors can still participate in Icahn Enterprises' ventures.

Throughout his illustrious career, Icahn has been involved in various high-profile investments and proxy fights, such as those with Netflix, Phillips Petroleum, and Texaco. His investment philosophy has been a significant phenomenon on Wall Street, with many comparing him to other titans of the industry like Warren Buffett and Michael Dell.

In addition to his financial accomplishments, Icahn is a philanthropist and a thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast. His public policy stances have even garnered the attention of prominent figures like former President Donald Trump.

In conclusion, Carl Icahn's remarkable journey as a diversified investor, from his humble beginnings in Queens to his current status as an American billionaire investor, showcases the power of persistence, innovation, and strategic thinking. As the founder, chairman, and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, Icahn's legacy will continue to shape the landscape of investment strategies and the world of finance for years to come.

The Origins and Early Life of Carl Icahn: An Iconic Wall Street Investor

Born into an Ashkenazi Jewish family in Brooklyn, Carl Icahn spent his formative years in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, New York City. It was there that he attended Far Rockaway High School, laying the foundation for his future as a legendary American businessman and investor. Icahn's father, Michael Icahn, a self-proclaimed atheist, worked as a cantor before becoming a substitute teacher, while his mother, Bella Schnall, was also a dedicated schoolteacher.

After completing his secondary education, Icahn pursued higher learning at Princeton University, where he graduated with an A.B. in philosophy in 1957. His senior thesis, titled "The Problem of Formulating an Adequate Explication of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning," demonstrated his intellectual prowess and capacity for critical thinking. Following his time at Princeton, Icahn enrolled in the New York University School of Medicine. However, after two years, he decided to leave medical school and join the military reserve force instead.

Carl Icahn's journey from his humble beginnings in Queens to his meteoric rise as a billionaire investor and Wall Street icon is nothing short of remarkable. As the founder, chairman, and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, as well as the CEO of its subsidiary Icahn Capital, Icahn has solidified his place as one of the most well-known and influential investors in America. His investment strategies, proxy fights, and involvement in public policy have left an indelible mark on the financial landscape, paving the way for future generations of investors and businesspeople alike.

Carl Icahn Business Career

The Evolution of Carl Icahn's Business Career: From Stockbroker to Wall Street Icon (1961-2005)

Carl Icahn's journey as a diversified investor and legendary businessman began in 1961 when he started working as a stockbroker for Dreyfus Corporation. In 1963, he transitioned to an options manager position at Tessel, Patrick & Co., before eventually moving to Gruntal & Co.

In 1968, Icahn took a significant step forward in his career, investing $150,000 of his own money and receiving a $400,000 investment from his uncle, M. Elliot Schnall. With these funds, he bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and established Icahn & Co., which specialized in risk arbitrage and options trading.

Over the years, Icahn became known for his strategic acquisitions and investments. In 1978, he doubled his investment in Tappan, earning a $2.7 million profit after forcing its sale to Electrolux. From 1979 to 1985, Icahn continued making profitable moves, acquiring companies like Bayswater Realty & Capital Corporation, ACF Industries, and selling shares to Phillips Petroleum for a $50 million profit.

Perhaps one of Icahn's most well-known investments was his complete acquisition of Trans World Airlines in a 1988 leveraged buyout. He sold off TWA's assets to repay debt, earning the title of "corporate raider" for his asset-stripping tactics. By 1991, Icahn made a $469 million profit and left TWA with $540 million in debt.

Throughout the 1990s, Icahn continued making lucrative investments, including an unsuccessful $8 billion hostile takeover attempt for U.S. Steel, a $2 billion stake in Texaco, and a $375 million offer to acquire Pan Am. Icahn also took control of Marvel Comics in 1997 and continued to increase his investment portfolio with strategic acquisitions and sales.

In the early 2000s, Icahn raised $3 billion to create Icahn Partners, a hedge fund that took ownership stakes in Blockbuster Video and Time Warner. He continued to be an activist investor, purchasing large blocks of stock and urging shareholders to vote against acquisitions he believed were unfavorable, such as Mylan's $4 billion stock deal to acquire King Pharmaceuticals in 2004.

Carl Icahn's Investment Milestones: 2005-2011

In 2005, Carl Icahn, the legendary American businessman, and investor made headlines when XO Communications announced its intention to sell the wired part of its business to Icahn for $700 million. However, R2 and other minority shareholders blocked the transaction in court in 2008 due to conflict of interest concerns.

In August 2006, Icahn acquired stock in Take-Two Interactive, a video game publisher, eventually increasing his holdings to 11.3% in 2009, becoming the company's second-largest shareholder. His investments in the biotech industry continued as he purchased a 9.2% stake in Telik, a cancer research company, in January 2007.

Despite owning 3% of Motorola, Icahn lost an election for a seat on the company's board of directors in May 2007. Undeterred, he continued to make significant investments, including a $2.3 billion takeover offer for Lear Corporation in February 2007 and a $50 million investment in Motricity, a mobile content delivery technology provider.

Icahn's investment portfolio grew even more diverse with his increased stake in BEA Systems to 13.22% in September 2007, and his gradual acquisition of a stake in Biogen beginning in 2007. In April 2007, he sold his Nevada casino interests, operated through American Casino & Entertainment Properties, for $1.3 billion, a profit of $1 billion.

March 2008 saw Icahn sue Motorola in an effort to gain four seats on the company's board and force a sale of its mobile business. A few months later, he purchased a large block of Yahoo! shares, threatening a proxy fight to remove the board of directors in response to their rejection of a takeover bid by Microsoft. Ultimately, Icahn forced an agreement to expand Yahoo!'s board to include himself and two others of his choice.

In June 2008, Icahn launched a blog, The Icahn Report, as he continued to be involved in various high-profile deals, including the attempted purchase of Imclone by Bristol-Myers Squibb and its eventual sale to Eli Lilly and Company for $6.5 billion in cash.

Throughout 2009 and 2010, Icahn's investment activities persisted, including a proxy battle for Amylin and an offer to buy the shares of XO he did not already own. He also resigned from the board of directors at Yahoo! in October 2009, reducing his equity stake in the company by the following February.

In February 2010, Icahn acquired the Fontainebleau Las Vegas for about $150 million and was part of a group of lenders who purchased Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City, bringing the company out of bankruptcy for $200 million.

In March 2011, Icahn conducted a failed takeover bid for Lionsgate Films, and in May 2010, he announced the purchase of an 8.54% stake in Lawson Software. This period of Carl Icahn's investment journey highlights his unwavering dedication to diversifying his portfolio and taking calculated risks as an influential Wall Street icon.

Carl Icahn's Investment Endeavors: 2010-2014

In May 2010, Carl Icahn, the well-known and influential American billionaire investor, held a 6.9% stake in Mentor Graphics, which increased to 14% by July. Despite Mentor's attempts to deter Icahn with a shareholder rights plan, he made an unsuccessful offer to buy the company for about $1.86 billion in cash in February 2011.

In January 2011, Icahn offered to buy Clorox for $10.2 billion and had accumulated a 9.08% stake in the company by February. In October 2012, Icahn reported a 10% stake in Netflix, further demonstrating his diverse investment strategy.

Icahn continued his investment pursuits by attempting to gain control of the board of directors of Oshkosh Corporation in November 2012. Forbes recognized his success by listing him as one of the 40 highest-earning hedge fund managers in February 2013.

Throughout 2013 and 2014, Icahn expanded his investments to include a 9.2% stake in Nuance Communications, 4.7 million shares in Apple Inc., and around 61 million shares in Talisman Energy. He also engaged in a legal battle against Dell's CEO, Michael Dell, in an attempt to derail a $24.4 billion buyout bid.

In November 2013, Icahn acquired a 12.5% interest in Hologic, a medical device and diagnostics manufacturer. He continued to invest in Apple Inc. throughout January 2014, with another half-billion-dollar investment. That same month, he pushed eBay to complete the corporate spin-off of PayPal, leading to a proxy fight that was settled by April.

In October 2014, Icahn invested in Talisman Energy, but due to a 71% decrease in the company's stock price, he sold his shares just two months later. This period showcases Carl Icahn's relentless pursuit of investment opportunities and his impact as an activist investor on the companies he engages with.

Carl Icahn's Investments from 2015 to 2022

In May 2015, the legendary American businessman and activist investor, Carl Icahn, made a $100 million investment in Lyft. Later that year, in November, he hired CBRE Group to market the unfinished Fontainebleau Las Vegas to potential buyers, swapped his stake in eBay for shares in PayPal, and disclosed a 7.13% stake in Xerox.

In December 2015, Icahn offered to acquire Pep Boys and increased his stake in Cheniere Energy to 13.8%, making him the largest shareholder. In August 2017, he sold the unfinished Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas for $600 million, a more than four-fold return on his investment.

In January 2016, Icahn disclosed a 4.66% stake in Gannett Company and held shares in Cheniere Energy and Freeport-McMoRan, both of which declined in value. He sold his Apple shares in April 2016 due to concerns about Apple's relationship with China. In August 2016, he increased his stake in Herbalife Nutrition to 21%.

In October 2016, Icahn closed the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, citing a $350 million loss and failure to reach a deal with striking union workers, resulting in nearly 3,000 job losses. In November 2016, he increased his holdings in The Hertz Corporation following a significant decline in the company's stock price.

In 2017, Icahn acquired a 9.7% stake in Conduent, sold out of Allergan and Nuance Communications, and increased his stakes in Navistar International and Herbalife Nutrition. In May 2020, he sold his entire 39% stake in Hertz Global, losing almost $2 billion on the investment.

In February 2022, Icahn, who held 200 shares of McDonald's, nominated two people for election to the company's board of directors, potentially leading to a proxy fight. He aimed to pressure McDonald's to improve conditions for pigs raised by its suppliers. However, in May 2022, only 1% of McDonald's shareholders voted in favor of Icahn's nominees, resulting in a victory against his demands for improved animal welfare. McDonald's claimed it was already working towards a more humane approach since its 2012 pledge and found Icahn's demands unreasonable.

Carl Icahn's Political Involvement and Influence during the Trump Era

Carl Icahn, a legendary American businessman and activist investor, endorsed Donald Trump during the 2016 United States presidential election. In support of Trump's campaign, Icahn established a super PAC pledging $150 million to advocate for corporate tax reform, specifically targeting tax inversions, which involve corporations relocating their headquarters to take advantage of lower tax rates in other countries.

When Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he announced plans to nominate Icahn for the United States Secretary of the Treasury. However, Steven Mnuchin was nominated instead. On December 21, 2016, it was revealed that Icahn would serve as a special advisor to President Trump on regulatory reform. He assumed this role in an "individual capacity" without specific duties and did not have to relinquish his business interests.

Icahn stepped down from his advisory role on August 18, 2017, to avoid interfering with Neomi Rao's work as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In February 2018, Icahn managed to avoid a $6 million loss by selling some of his holdings in a steel-price sensitive stock just days before the Trump administration announced a 25% tariff on steel imports.

During Scott Pruitt's nomination process as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Icahn interviewed him about his position on the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard. Icahn also spoke to President Trump and Gary Cohn about his proposed changes to the ethanol rule. Icahn's 82%-owned company, CVR Energy, would save $205.9 million annually if his proposal was adopted. The Sugar Land, Texas-based oil refinery benefited when President Trump made an exception to his regulation freeze, expanding the tax advantage of master limited partnerships. CVR Energy's stock doubled after Trump's election, increasing in value by $455 million.

Carl Icahn's Personal Life: Relationships and Family

In the summer of 1978, 41-year-old legendary American businessman and investor Carl Icahn met Liba Trejbal, a 28-year-old ballerina from former Czechoslovakia. Eight months into their relationship, Liba became pregnant, and Icahn proposed marriage on the condition that she sign a prenuptial agreement. The couple tied the knot in March 1979. However, in October 1993, Liba filed for divorce and sought to invalidate the prenuptial agreement, alleging that she signed it under duress due to her pregnancy. The divorce was ultimately settled in July 1999. Together, the couple had two children, Brett Icahn and Michelle Celia Icahn Nevin. Icahn's nephew is Rick Schnall.

In 1999, Icahn married Gail Golden, his longtime assistant and former broker. She brought two children from her previous marriage into the family. This summary highlights Carl Icahn's personal life, focusing on his relationships and family.

Carl Icahn's Philanthropy and Impact on Education and Healthcare

Carl Icahn, a legendary American businessman and investor, has made significant contributions to education and healthcare institutions. Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island in New York City and the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science and Icahn Scholar Program at Choate Rosemary Hall, a prep school in Connecticut, are named in his honor. The latter program provides full scholarships to 10 students annually, with an endowment valued at around $400,000 per year.

Icahn has also made substantial donations to his alma mater, Princeton University, funding the Carl C. Icahn Laboratory at the Institute for Integrated Genomics. Additionally, he has contributed greatly to Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, where he serves as a trustee. In recognition of his support, the hospital named the Icahn Medical Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai after him. The genomics institute led by Eric Schadt was renamed the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology.

Through his foundation, the Children's Rescue Fund, Icahn built Icahn House in The Bronx, a 65-unit complex for homeless families, as well as Icahn House East and Icahn House West, both homeless shelters in New York City.

In 2010, Icahn joined the Giving Pledge, committing to donate more than half of his fortune. As an activist investor, he has collaborated with the Humane Society of the United States to encourage McDonald's to fulfill its promise to end the sourcing of pork produced with gestation crates. This summary highlights Carl Icahn's philanthropic efforts and his impact on education and healthcare institutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of investor is Carl Icahn?

Carl Icahn is an activist investor, known for being a legendary American businessman and billionaire. As the founder and controlling shareholder of Icahn Enterprises and the CEO of its subsidiary Icahn Capital, he has become one of Wall Street's most successful and influential investors. Icahn often engages in proxy fights and takes significant positions in companies, pushing for changes to maximize shareholder value.

Carl Icahn Quotes

Here are some of Carl Icahn’s most famous quotes.

I like winning. There's also a certain joy in it. I feel fulfilled by it.
Don't go in and tell somebody else how to run their business.
I enjoy the hunt much more than the 'good life' after the victory.

To see more Carl Icahn quotes, we recommend visiting the Carl Icahn Quote section in Quotes Analysis.

We hope we have been helpful to you in this "Who is Carl Icahn" article, and we hope you have a better understanding of who this amazing protagonist of the investment world is!

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