Carl Celian Icahn, an American financier, was born on February 16, 1936. Icahn Enterprises, a public firm and diversified conglomerate holding company situated in New York City is his creation and controlling shareholder.
Icahn buys big shares in firms he feels would profit from changes in corporate policy, then puts pressure on management to make changes that will benefit shareholders. He was one of the earliest activist shareholders, and he is credited with popularising activist investing among hedge funds.
After benefitting from the hostile takeover and asset stripping of Trans World Airlines in the 1980s, Icahn earned a reputation as a “corporate raider.”Icahn is a member of the Forbes 400, with a net worth of $17 billion to $22 billion. Although individuals can participate in Icahn Enterprises, Icahn has not managed money for outside clients since 2011.
Early Childhood and Educational Experiences
He was born on February 16, 1936, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, to Bella (a schoolteacher) and Michael (a cantor who later worked as a substitute teacher). Icahn grew up in Queens and graduated from Far Rockaway High School.
His education continued at Princeton University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1957. The next step was for Icahn to enroll at New York University’s School of Medicine, but he dropped school after only two years to serve in the military reserve instead.
Business Careers Are a Great Place to Start
Icahn began his career in business in 1961 as a stockbroker with Dreyfus Corporation, where he remained until his retirement in 2003. He went on to work as an options manager for Tessel, Patrick & Co., and subsequently for Gruntal & Co., where he stayed for a few years. A seat on the New York Stock Exchange was purchased by Icahn in 1968, using $150,000 of his personal funds and a $400,000 investment from his uncle, for a total of $450,000.
In the following year, he founded Icahn & Co., which specialized in options trading and risk arbitrage. Taking a majority share in the appliance manufacturer Tappan and forcing its sale to Electrolux in 1978, Icahn virtually doubled his investment and established himself as a takeover candidate.
Next to that, he acquired Bayswater Realty & Capital Corporation the following year. He achieved a $50 million profit when he sold his interests in AFC Industries to Phillips Petroleum in 1985, a transaction that took place in the early 1980s.
What Is the Net Worth of Carl Icahn?
Carl Icahn is an American businessman, investor, and activist shareholder who has a net worth of $24 billion. He is the founder of the activist shareholder movement. Carl Icahn is best known as the founder and controlling shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a holding corporation based in New York City that he founded in 1982.
His investment technique, which has become standard practice for hedge funds, is purchasing substantial holdings in firms that he then pressures to make corporate policy changes that are in the best interests of shareholders.
After profiting from the aggressive takeover of Trans World Airlines in the 1980s, Carl Icahn was dubbed “the corporate raider.” Since then, he has attempted several other hostile takeovers and asset stripping transactions.
Controversy Surrounds Trans World Airlines.
The investment of Carl Icahn in Trans World Airlines in the mid-to-late 1980s sparked widespread debate when he merged his finances with borrowed and investor funds to purchase a 50% stake in the company before acquiring the entire company through a leveraged buyout.
His next step was to liquidate the company’s assets in order to pay off his personal obligations, earning him the moniker of “corporate raider” who engaged in asset stripping. Later, Icahn sold TWA’s London services to American Airlines for $445 million, netting him a profit while putting the airline into debt to the tune of $540 million.
Continuing Your Business Career
Aside from the TWA fiasco, Icahn has been extremely successful in his subsequent business ventures. In 1986, he tried an $8 billion hostile purchase of U.S. Steel, which was ultimately unsuccessful. The sale of his investment for $1 billion five years later resulted in a $200 million profit for the investor.
Additionally, Icahn made a substantial profit from the sale of his stock in Texaco in 1989. The next year, he made a profit on the sale of his 7.3 percent stake in RJR Nabisco, and he also acquired control of Marvel Comics at the end of the year.
In 2004, Icahn began gathering $3 billion to establish his hedge fund, Icahn Partners, and he also acquired shares in Time Warner and Blockbuster Video, among other companies.
His other investments included stock in firms such as Take-Two Interactive, Telik, Motricity, BEA Systems, Biogen, Yahoo!, Lawson Software, Mentor Graphics, Netflix, and Nuance Communications, as well as Hologic and Lyft, among many others.
Additionally, in 2011, he attempted but failed to acquire control of Lionsgate Films. Icahn has also made significant investments in Apple, including hundreds of millions of dollars.
Politics as a Profession
When it came to the 2016 presidential election, Icahn backed Republican nominee Donald Trump. In addition, he announced the formation of a super-PAC with a pledge of $150 million to support corporate tax inversions.
Immediately following the election, Icahn was appointed Special Advisor to the President on Regulatory Reform, a role that he retained until August 2017. The following year, Icahn avoided millions of dollars in damages by selling his stakes in a stock that was susceptible to steel prices only days before the Trump administration proposed a levy on steel imports.
Despite his harsh and frequently unethical business activities, Icahn has also been involved in some charitable endeavors. He has made major contributions to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York as well as to his alma mater, Princeton University, where he was instrumental in the establishment of a genomics laboratory in his honor.
A second foundation, the Children’s Rescue Fund, was established by him. It developed a 65-unit building in the Bronx for homeless single pregnant women and single mothers with children, and it also maintains two other homeless shelters.
The Carl C. Icahn Center for Science, as well as the Icahn Scholar Program at Choate Rosemary Hall, are all named after him, as well as Icahn Stadium.
Observations on His Personal Life
He first met Czech ballerina Liba Trejbal in 1978, and when she fell pregnant eight months later, he proposed to her on the condition that she sign a prenuptial agreement. She agreed, and the rest is history. The couple tied the knot in 1979 and went on to have two children, Brett and Michelle.
Later, in 1993, Trejbal filed for divorce and launched a lawsuit to have the prenuptial agreement declared unconstitutional on the grounds that she was coerced into signing it. In 1999, the couple decided to end their marriage. Following that, Icahn married his long-time assistant Gail Golden, giving birth to two stepchildren as a result of the union.
Among his many interests is thoroughbred horse racing, which Icahn enjoys very much. The horse breeding operation Foxfield Thoroughbreds, which he founded in 1985, is named after him.
After five years of training, his horse Meadow Star took home the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies title in 2011. He began working as a commercial breeder in 1992. Icahn eventually closed down Foxfield in 2004 and sold all of his weanlings and mares to other owners.