Why Carl Icahn Is The Most Dangerous Man On Wall Street

Carl Icahn Poker

Forbes’ latest cover story is a huge spread on billionaire hedge fund manager, corporate “raider”, and Wall Street legend Carl Icahn.

The man’s been hard to ignore lately. At the beginning of the year he joyfully jumped on the other side of long-time nemesis Bill Ackman’s epic short position in Herbalife.

Most recently, he’s been mixing things up in the deal to take Dell private.

Basically, he’s everywhere. And the best part of this Forbes spread is that you find out exactly why. It’s very simple.

From Forbes:

Icahn says he respects the new breed of activist investors like Meister, Daniel Loeb and Barry Rosenstein. (“Good guys,” he calls them.) But what separates him is that they run money that can be recalled by their investors. Icahn, by virtue of his postmeltdown revamp, wages proxy battles and issues tender offers with so-called permanent capital–money under his complete control. And given how large that permanent war chest is, he can target companies previously thought unassailable. “Right now,” says Icahn, waving around an aluminium ruler like a cavalry saber, “without selling anything, we can write a check for about $10 billion.” With that kind of ammo Icahn can take on a cash-rich company with a market cap of as much as $50 billion.

That’s why, for Icahn, a company like Dell is completely in play. He took a $1 billion position in the company after reading about the deal in the newspaper. Since then, he’s told Dell’s board he’s interested in a controlling interest in the company.

It’s classic Icahn, with absolutely no compunction about taking the company Michael Dell founded in his college dorm room away from him.

From Forbes:

“Michael may have messed himself up,” says Icahn. “He put himself in a position where he may lose his company, since normally it would have been very hard to take his company away, because he owns 15%.”

For what it’s worth, Icahn’s investment funds have returned an average of 25% over the last four years, and he’s up over 12% year to date.

So perhaps Wall Street should just submit to it’s over-lord.

Read the full piece at Forbes>

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