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Billionaire Activist Carl Icahn’s Top Picks and Big Moves

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Carl Icahn’s Icahn Capital LP has filed its latest 13F with the SEC, revealing the legendary activist’s equity positions at the end of 2014. Given Icahn’s modus operandi, which is to take large activist positions in companies, which requires immediate disclosure with the SEC, there is little revealed in the latest filing that wasn’t already known, despite Icahn making several moves in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, let’s run down Icahn’s biggest and most active positions to end 2014.


Carl Icahn is one of the most well-known investors in the world, one whose presence or mere interest in a stock almost inevitably leads to a rise in value, as investors are keenly aware of the positive change Icahn can bring to a company’s governance and the stock’s shareholder value. Icahn, who celebrated his 79th birthday on Monday, founded what would become Icahn Capital in 1968, and his fund returned a strong 10.2% in the first half of 2014, which many other funds struggled. Icahn is ranked by Forbes as the 25th richest person in the world with a personal fortune of $23.4 billion.

For the second straight quarter, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) remains Icahn’s most valuable holding, after his stake in his holding company Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ:IEP). His position in Apple remained unchanged during the quarter, with ownership of 52.76 million shares.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has enjoyed a tremendous run since the launch of the iPhone 6, soaring 32.97% since October 17. Icahn remains extremely bullish on Apple, and insists the company could be the first to attain a market cap of $1 trillion (it is currently valued at $745.58 billion); that is, if it continues to improve shareholder value, which Icahn is pressuring it to do. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases its Apple Watch later this year, and is rumored to be looking into building an electric car, which may or may not be self-driving.

Icahn made a minor addition to his eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) holding during the fourth quarter, adding 445,868 shares, a less than 1% addition to his position, which now boasts 46.27 million shares. Icahn was successful in convincing eBay to spin-off its PayPal division, and likely hopes for a sale of the company once it goes public.

On the other hand, Icahn is not looking for a sale of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), and would like to see the online auction and retail giant turn around its struggling business. To that end, he was successful in having a representative appointed to its Board of Directors, who will seek to improve corporate governance. eBay recently announced weaker than anticipated fourth quarter results, and announced it would shed 2,400 jobs in early 2015.

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