Carl Icahn is an American entrepreneur and the largest shareholder of Icahn Enterprises. Icahn holds controlling or substantial positions in a number of corporations, including Western Union, American Can, Marvel Comics, USX, Nabisco, Texaco, Time Warner, Blockbuster, Motorola, RJR, TWA, Gulf & Western Viacom and Revlon among others. Icahn is considered to be one of the richest people in the world, with his estimated net worth of $20 billion.
Icahn was born on 16th February, 1936 in Queens, New York City, New York, U. S. to a Jewish family. He attended Princeton University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in the year 1957. He then enrolled in New York University School of Medicine, but decided to drop out two years later in order to join the army. His business career started in 1961, where he worked as stockbroker in Wall Street. In 1968, he set up Icahn & Co., a securities company that dealt with options trading and risk arbitrage. A decade later, he had controlling positions in individual companies.
In 1985, Icahn made a hostile takeover of TWA, and ever since then, he has been deemed to be a ruthless corporate raider. In 1988, he took TWA private and gained a personal profit of $469 million as a result. He left the company with a debt of $540 million. In late 1986, he launched a hostile takeover for 89 per cent of U.S. Steel for $7 billion, but was finally rebuffed by David Roderick on January, 1987.
In 2006, Icahn put up his stake in KT&G (Korea Tobacco & Ginseng) for sale, whereby he made a substantial profit from the deal. A year later, he together with his affiliates owned majority positions in companies such as Icahn Enterprises (formerly American Real Estate Partners), Philip Services, XO Communications, American Railcar Industries and ACF Industries. Icahn attempted to run as a principal shareholder of Time Warner, holding about 3.3 per cent of the company valued at billions of dollars.
In 2008, Icahn expressed his interest in the takeover of Yahoo!, to enable Microsoft acquire the web company. In the same year, he sold his casino interests in Nevada, which included Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, Aquarius Casino Resort and Stratosphere. All of these establishments are operated through a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises, known as American Entertainment Properties. In June 2008, Icahn initiated the Icahn Report, which mainly campaigns for stakeholders rights. Until January 2010, Icahn served as the Director of Blockbuster, as well as the Chairman of WestPoint Home, American Railcar Industries, XO Communications, Ichan Enterprises and Imclone.
Besides being an industrious businessman, Icahn is also a devoted philanthropist, who has contributed millions towards various charitable organizations. This self-made billionaire has been married twice. He first married Liba Trejbal, with whom he had two children, Brett (born in 1979) and Michelle (born in 1982). Their marriage ended in separation in 1993 and later a divorce in 1999. Icahn then married Gail Golden, his longtime assistant and ex-broker.