How to Invest Like Carl Icahn: Learn from the Best with New Gen

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Carl Icahn, Investment geniuses / 13 June, 2022

Karla García Gil Journalist

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Carl Icahn is one of Wall Street’s most successful investors and has been shaking up companies for decades. The American financier, is founder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, his main publicly traded investment vehicle. It is a New York-based public company and diversified conglomerate holding company.

The entrepreneur currently ranks 97th on Forbes’ list of billionaires, with wealth totaling $16.7 billion.

Icahn’s strategy consists of acquiring large stakes in companies that he believes will appreciate through changes in their corporate policy. He is considered one of the first activist shareholders and is credited with making this investment strategy mainstream for hedge funds.

Carl Icahn's biography: What is his investment style?

Carl Icahn's biography: What is his investment style?

The mythical figure of Carl Icahn has inspired at least two endearing characters in Hollywood movies; and his investment character has earned him fame as the most ruthless man on Wall Street.

His investment philosophy, as he himself has stated, is to buy something when no one wants it. Thus, as a contrarian investor, he identifies stocks that have a low price-to-earnings ratio or with values that exceed the current market valuation.

The tycoon then buys a significant position in the company and suggests electing a new board of directors or selling assets to deliver more value to shareholders.

About his career

Carl Icahn was born on February 16, 1936 in Queens, New York. He graduated from Princeton University in 1957 with a degree in philosophy. He then entered New York University School of Medicine, but dropped out two years later to join the military reserve force.

Subsequently, Icahn became a stockbroker at Dreyfus Corporation, a company he left in 1963 to crystallize as a stock options trader at Tessel, Patrick and Company.

In 1968, the tycoon bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange for Icahn and Company, his new brokerage firm. In 1978, he began making acquisitions after making a large investment in Tappan Company, a manufacturer of cook stoves.

In the 1980s, he developed his reputation as a “corporate raider” after profiting from the hostile takeover and asset stripping of Trans World Airlines (TWA), a company in trouble when the tycoon took control in late 1985 and of which he became chairman the following year.

By 1997, Icahn took control of Marvel Comics, in 2004, an ownership stake in Blockbuster Video and Time Warner. Later, he bought a large stake in Yahoo, and by 2012, he took a 10% stake in Netflix.

In early 2014, Icahn invested $500 million in Apple Inc, the same year he influenced eBay to finalize the spin-off of PayPal.

This year, Icahn, who owns 200 shares in McDonald’s, plans to make a restitution on the board of directors, this as a means for the company to improve conditions for pigs raised for sale.

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