1. Carl Icahn: Introduction
  2. Carl Icahn: Early Life and Education
  3. Carl Icahn: Success Story
  4. Carl Icahn: Net Worth
  5. Carl Icahn: Famous or Infamous
  6. Carl Icahn: Most Influential Quotes

Carl Icahn is a New York-based investor and one of the 50 richest men in the world, with more than $20 billion in assets. He is known for his brash style as a corporate raider and as an outspoken shareholder activist. He founded his own firm in 1968 focused on arbitrage opportunities, and went on to fame in the 1980s through a series of takeovers and attempted takeovers of some of the biggest companies in America, including Texaco, TWA and American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL). In 1985, he successfully took over TWA, and brought it back from the verge of bankruptcy for several years through a series of controversial changes. It finally went bankrupt in 1992 and emerged the next year, at which point Icahn relinquished his role as chairman.

In the 1980s, Icahn frequently locked horns with CEOs and corporate boards, sometimes winning needed reforms or driving his targets into mergers with other companies. He was also the beneficiary of a practice known as greenmailing, in which a company would get him to abandon his takeover attempt in one of two ways: either they would make the strategic and organizational changes he demanded, or they would simply buy him out.

A colorful figure and an aggressive investor, Icahn is credited as one of the inspirations for the Gordon Gecko character in Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street.

As an investor, he continues to use his large ownership stakes to criticize the boards and management of publicly traded companies, and to earn profits. In 2000, he attempted to take over Nabisco (now owned by Mondelez International, Inc. [MDLZ]), losing out to Philip Morris Co. (now a subsidiary of Altria Group, Inc. [MO]); he earned a reported $600 million profit in the process.

In 2004, Icahn opened a hedge fund, allowing other investors to benefit from his investment ideas and from the so-called Icahn Lift, which often affects a stock price after he begins buying into a company he thinks is promising, but mismanaged.

Now in his seventies, Icahn remains an active figure in the markets, with recent high-profile investments and contentious exchanges with management at companies such as Netflix (NFLX), Dell, Apple (AAPL), Family Dollar (DLTR) and eBay (EBAY).

Carl Icahn: Early Life and Education
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