Carl Icahn, New York businessman and founder of Icahn Enterprises, is one of Wall Street's most successful investors, who has shaken up corporate America and ran an investment fund comprising his personal fortune and the money of Icahn enterprises.
As a notorious "corporate raider," how much has New York's real-life Gordon Gekko banked?
Icahn's career began in the early 1960s as a trainee stockbroker at Dreyfus & Company, progressing to an options trader. In 1968, Icahn used his $150,000 of his savings and a check for $400,000 from his uncle, Elliot Schall, to establish Icahn & Company, specializing in risk arbitrage and options trading.
By 1985, Icahn had built a reputation as a "corporate raider" on the back of his hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines, methodically selling TWA's assets and using the funds to pay off the money he borrowed to buy the company.
Icahn profited $469 million, and as chairman, turned the firm around from bankruptcy. It's this reputation that led to speculation that Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas' character in the 1987 movie "Wall Street", was based on Icahn himself.
Icahn defended his raiding by arguing that it profited ordinary stockholders. In 1987, Icahn Enterprises became incorporated on Feb. 17.
Since the headstrong days of the 1980s, Icahn has continued his takeovers and investments, gaining controlling positions in numerous companies, including Texaco, Blockbuster, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Time Warner, Netflix, Motorola, Fairmont Hotel, and Nabisco. Each time, Icahn used his modus operandi of acquisition, breaking up or selling off parts of the company.
In 2008, Icahn Enterprises, as the majority owner of Tropicana Entertainment, started assembling the company when it went bankrupt. By 2018, Icahn reached a deal to sell the casino company for $1.85 billion to Gaming and Leisure Properties and Eldorado Resorts.
The deal came just a week after Icahn Enterprises sold its wholly-owned auto-parts company, Federal-Mogul, to Tenneco for around $2.4 billion in cash and stocks, earning a profit of $700 million, just a year after Icahn Enterprises bought out the minority holders.
During the 21st century, Icahn forged a lasting connection with Donald Trump via his business interests in Trump's suffering Atlantic City casinos. As a result, Trump Entertainment Resorts became an Icahn Enterprises subsidiary in 2016. It was likely that this interaction led to Icahn spending the first few months of Trump's presidency as a special advisor.