Carl Icahn's Top Holdings: A Look Forward
Carl Icahn is proving to be a winner for investors. Despite a public battle with Bill Ackman over Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF), and despite what appears to be a non-victory for Icahn at eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), investors have done well positioning themselves to ride on his coattails.
Now that Icahn has secured three more board seats at Herbalife, a position twice as much as his large stake might allow for anyone else, 24/7 Wall St. wanted to review his other positions and holdings.
As of the last filing date, there were 18 positions that had a value in excess of $30 billion. Of course, that does include a massive stake in his own Icahn Enterprises L.P. (NASDAQ: IEP). The trick is not just knowing how much or even of what Icahn owns, it is figuring what might happen next.
CVR Energy Inc. (NYSE: CVI) is a stake that Icahn has held for some time now. Icahn also has done well by this holding — nearly 71.2 million shares, or about 82% of the shares outstanding of this $3.6 billion company.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is one more position that Icahn has made money in, for those who followed him in. That being said, the only real thing that Icahn was able to influence was an evening of Tim Cook’s time for a dinner one night. Still, Apple is buying back stock, and we just telegraphed that Apple is likely to boost its dividend again. Icahn’s position was 4.7 million shares, but Icahn even said he was going to lighten up in his attempts to press Apple’s management.
Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) remains in the doldrums, despite having the top position in speech recognition technology. It helps to power Siri and many investors have, rather unsuccessfully, thought that one of the large software or technology giants would acquire the company. Trading at 15 times expected earnings, it has a market cap of almost $5.3 billion. Icahn has more board seats now, but this company’s end-game is harder to see.
Federal Mogul Corp. (NASDAQ: FDML) is a position that investors forget about as an Icahn stock, likely because he has been the key owner for years now. This company is firmly under Icahn’s control, to the tune of more than 80% of the outstanding shares. Shares have pulled back handily from the highs of about $23 right at the start of 2013, which might make one wonder what Icahn can do here. Maybe that will be to find a buyer of this $2.6 billion auto components and parts company.
A smaller position had been seen in Hologic Inc. (NASDAQ: HOLX), a medical device maker with shares that have done little to nothing for the past three years. Icahn’s stake of 12.45% is just above the one held by two other investor groups. Growth remains elusive, as does what the focus ahead will be. Hologic is owned almost entirely by institutional investors.
eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) remains a thorn in Icahn’s side, while he is becoming less of a thorn in eBay’s side. Still, Icahn appears as though he is lightly profitable in this position, and the shares rallied on the Icahn news when they may have fallen on the earnings outlook. Getting eBay to ditch its chairman and other board members has fallen on deaf ears, and his hard court press to spin off PayPal has turned into a push for a tracking stock. Outside investors and market strategists seem to be siding with eBay, rather than with Icahn, as well. eBay has further rejected Icahn’s two board nominees. With a stake of less than 1%, it seems hard to consider that Icahn can make much change here.
A recent victory was Forest Labs Inc. (NYSE: FRX), but it was a long time in the making — a making that seemed like it would not even come about. Yet Icahn won here, after pushing for severe change for some time. This turned out to be an acquisition of Actavis for close to $25 billion. Icahn’s more than 30.6 million shares came to a stake of more than 11.3% in the company. That will give Icahn another $2 billion or more to go out and find a new company that he wants to shake up.
Another huge victory for Icahn was Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX). The online video streaming giant has backed off handily in recent weeks, but Icahn exponentially profited here. His stake at the last filing date of holdings in February was down to just under 4.5%, and he has said that he sold even more shares. This was a home run for Team Icahn.