Icahn’s at it again, slamming the New York Times on his new favourite media medium, Twitter.
NYT’s thesis that Ackman’s actions prove something is wrong with activism is specious. His actions prove only something is wrong with Ackman
— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 15, 2013
The Twitterverse is under the impression that Icahn may have gotten his publications mixed up, because it’s the New Yorker that has a massive article out today called “When Shareholder Acitvism Goes Wrong.”
You have to remember here that Icahn’s been doing this activism thing since the 1960s — he’s an O.G…. he’s the O.G. and so he’s not going to let journalists run around bashing his life’s work.
Here’s a taste of what upset Icahn so much:
The restructuring efforts that Ackman and Lampert have tried to pull off, by contrast, demand a kind of industry- or company-specific knowledge, and experience, that most money managers just don’t have. That’s why the 2008 study found that hedge funds tended to target “issues that are generalizable to all firms … rather than issues that are specific to one” company, and that this was sensible because many hedge funds “are not experts in the specific business of their target firms.” There are, to be sure, a few hedge funds that seem able to effect meaningful improvements in the operations of the companies they target — the best known is Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund — but they’re rare. In most cases, money managers would do better by sticking to what they know best — finding undervalued companies — and to traditional forms of activism. Even Loeb’s recent success at Yahoo, whose stock has risen sharply over the past year, had more to do with pursuing conventional activist strategies (bringing in a new C.E.O. and pushing for aggressive share buybacks) than with seeking a total revamp of Yahoo’s business.
You read that, right? You think Carl’s going to take that lying down? No way, man. Fighting words.