Icahn, Carl C.

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ICAHN, CARL C. (1936– ), U.S. financier. Born in Queens, n.y., the son of a teacher and a lawyer who was also a cantor, Icahn earned a degree in philosophy from Princeton University in 1957 and enrolled in medical school. He dropped out after three years. Instead, Icahn learned the broker's trade on Wall Street and became one of the most infamous American corporate raiders of the 1980s. He enriched himself and his partners by his takeovers. He also engaged in "greenmail": threatening to take over corporations like Marshall Field and Phillips Petroleum, then selling his stocks and walking off with a sizable profit. Over the years, Icahn tangled with militant airline unions, entrenched corporate directors, protective politicians, and fellow Wall Street sharks. Icahn forged his reputation for aggressive investing with his acquisition of Trans World Airways, then seeking to profit from the bankruptcy of Texaco, Inc. During the 1990s, he made four attempts to take control of rjr Nabisco, then the second-largest U.S. tobacco company, through stock purchases and proxy fights. From 1995 to 2005, Icahn reported net investment gains of at least $2.77 billlion, including $893 million he made while trying to break up Nabisco. Icahn also made millions betting on the direction of Revlon Inc. bonds and shares of Conseco Inc., a giant insurer. Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $7.6 billion in September 2004. Icahn's second-largest gain was on ImClone Systems Inc. stock. Icahn turned a $196 million investment in the biopharmaceutical company into a profit of $418 million. While Icahn had many losses over the years, particularly when he "shorted" stocks, or borrowed shares and sold them immediately on the expectation they would decline, overall he made fortunes, including the doubling of a $197 million investment in Revlon, the cosmetics manufacturer controlled by Ronald *Perelman. At one time, Icahn had financial interests in mining, gambling, auto parts, financial service, and oil and gas exploration. Icahn also tried to take over Marvel Comics, a company also controlled by Perelman.

Through his family foundation, Icahn gave generously, with a special interest in abused and neglected children. In 2002, Icahn provided significant funds to endow research in the potential of stem cells as a therapeutic tool. He was the donor of the Laboratory Center for Jewish Life at Princeton, financed the Carl C. Icahn Charter School in the Bronx and institutes at the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University. He was the founder of Icahn House, a home for single mothers and their children. He served as a trustee on the board of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Mount Sinai Hospital as well as being a member of the board of overseers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. There is a stadium on Randalls Island in New York City named for him. He said he planned to give most of his money to charity when he died. Icahn was the subject of King Icahn: The Biography of a Renegade Capitalist, by Mark Stevens.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]