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Carl Icahn Fast Facts

Andrew Cuomo

Here’s a look at the life of investor Carl Icahn.


Birth date: February 16, 1936

Birth place: Brooklyn, New York

Birth name: Carl Celian Icahn

Father: Michael Icahn, cantor and teacher

Mother: Bella (Schnall) Icahn, teacher

Marriages: Gail Golden (1999-present); Liba Trejbal (1979-1999, divorced)

Children: with Liba Trejbal: Michelle and Brett

Education: Princeton University, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, 1957; Attended New York University Medical School, 1957-1960

Military Service: US Army

Other Facts

Did a brief stint in the Army after dropping out of medical school.

Was close to his uncle M. Elliot Schnall, who loaned him $400,000 to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

Has been sued and investigated numerous times for issues ranging from corporate debt payment to possible federal securities violations.

Has been referred to as a “corporate raider” amid accusations of utilizing a strategy known as greenmail: forcing targeted companies to repurchase their own shares at higher (premium) prices.

Oliver Stone met with Icahn while working on the 1987 film “Wall Street.” Icahn supplied character Gordon Gekko’s line, “If you need a friend, get a dog.”

Has held positions in numerous corporations, including: RJR Nabisco, Texaco, Phillips Petroleum, Western Union, Gulf & Western, Viacom, American Can, USX, Marvel, BEA Systems and Time Warner.

Funds Foundation for a Greater Opportunity, which developed the Icahn Charter Schools in New York City.

Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York is named after him.


1961 – Joins Dreyfus & Co. as a broker.

1963 – Joins Tessel, Patrick & Co. as an options manager.

1964-1968 – Runs the options department at Gruntal & Co.

1968 – With help from his uncle, starts Icahn & Co., serves as chairman and president.

1978 – As the largest shareholder of Tappan stock, Icahn precipitates a proxy fight. Tappan is later sold to Electrolux, and stock prices double.

1979 – Becomes chairman of the Bayswater Realty & Capital Corporation.

1985 – Attempts an unsuccessful $8 billion buyout of Phillips Petroleum. Icahn earns a reported $50 million selling his shares back to Phillips.

1985 – Purchases Trans World Airlines (TWA).

1988 – Icahn, the largest shareholder in Texaco Inc., threatens a proxy fight to fill five seats on the company’s board. He loses, but continues to purchase more stock in the company.

1988 – Icahn takes TWA private and controls 90% of the stock. He earns $469 million for the deal. The airline remains $540 million in debt.

January 1989 – After negotiations with Texaco, Icahn signs a seven-year agreement to neither buy more stock nor make a takeover bid. His stake in shares is worth $2.2 billion.

1991 – In a deal with American Airlines, Icahn sells half of TWA’s valuable London routes for $445 million.

1992 – TWA declares bankruptcy.

1993 – TWA emerges from bankruptcy. Creditors, including Icahn, own 55% of TWA. He resigns as chairman of TWA, with the airline owing him $190 million.

1995 – TWA and Icahn settle on the Karabu ticket agreement, which states that for eight years, Icahn can purchase any ticket through St. Louis for $.55 on the dollar and resell at a discount.

2000 – Makes multiple bids for Nabisco Group. Philip Morris Co., the parent company of Kraft Foods, wins, but Icahn still comes away with $600 million for himself and his investors.

2004 – Icahn begins raising $3 billion to start the hedge fund, Icahn Partners.

September 17, 2004 – Icahn discloses he holds an 8.9% stake in Mylan Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company which is in talks to buy rival King Pharmaceuticals.

October 14, 2004 – Icahn files a proxy statement with the SEC, claiming Mylan’s acquisition of King would be too expensive.

October 28, 2004 – King Pharmaceuticals announces it may have to restate its finances.

November 11-26, 2004 – After Blockbuster, Movie Gallery and a buyout firm all make unsolicited bids to buy Hollywood Entertainment Corp., Icahn spends two weeks buying an 8.4% stake in Hollywood Entertainment.

November 19, 2004 – Icahn makes a public bid for full ownership of Mylan Laboratories for $4.9 billion (for a total of $5.4 billion), to keep it separate from King Pharmaceuticals.

December 2004 – Icahn says he supports a merger between Blockbuster and rival Hollywood Entertainment.

February 27, 2005 – The deal between Mylan and King is officially off.

2005 – Buys 10 million shares of Blockbuster, becomes the largest shareholder with a 9.7% stake, and launches a proxy fight.

July 2005 – Icahn drops his bid to buy Mylan Laboratories and is expected to sell back 94% of his shares, making about a 14% profit.

October 2005 – Icahn sends a letter to Time Warner shareholders, pushing for new directors and stressing that the stock is undervalued.

February 7, 2006 – Icahn announces his desired plan for Time Warner: split up into four different companies and a $20 billion share buyback.

February 17, 2006 – After a six-month proxy fight, Time Warner and Icahn reach an agreement. Time Warner increases its share buyback amount to $20 billion, agrees to appoint two independent directors to the board and the company remains intact.

March 2010 – Icahn sells a majority of his shares in Blockbuster for a loss of $180 million.

March 2011 – Announces he will return outside investors’ money from his hedge funds.

October 2012 – Icahn’s funds have acquired about a 10% stake in Netflix.

August 13, 2013 – Icahn announces he has a “large” stake in Apple, and that the company is “extremely undervalued.”

October 2013 – Icahn sells more than half his stake in Netflix, gaining more than $800 million while still holding a 4.5% stake.

October 23, 2013 – Icahn sends a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, proposing Apple conduct a $150 billion share buyback.

February 10, 2014 – In an open letter to Apple shareholders, Icahn drops his campaign for pushing the company toward a higher buyback plan.

October 9, 2014 – Icahn, in an open letter to Tim Cook, states that Apple stock is undervalued and once again pushes the CEO to increase its stock buybacks. Icahn owns about 53 million shares.

May 18, 2015 – Although Apple has already announced plans to increase its share repurchase plan from $90 billion to $140 billion, Icahn releases an open letter to Tim Cook, calling for a much larger buyback.

December 21, 2016 – President-elect Donald Trump‘s transition office announces that Icahn has agreed to serve as a special adviser on regulatory reform.

February 7, 2017 – States he won’t invest the $100 to $200 million needed to reopen the shuttered Taj Mahal Casino, but will sell it instead. Icahn closed the casino in 2016, after failing to reach a labor agreement with its union employees.

August 18, 2017 – Announces he has stepped down as a special adviser to President Trump.

November 3, 2017 – In a company filing, Icahn Enterprises says it is cooperating with a request from the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which is seeking information relating to Icahn’s role as an adviser to President Trump.

January 3, 2021 – Herbalife Nutrition announces it is buying back roughly $600 million worth of shares from Icahn. Icahn is also giving up his firm’s five board seats.

Article Topic Follows: US & World

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