Carl Icahn, the venerable, inimitable corporate-raider-turned-activist-investor-if-you-can-call-those-different-things, is speaking to DealBook’s annual conference at the Whitney later today. As it happens, BlackRock’s Larry Fink addressed the very same gathering this morning. And when Larry Fink speaks, he speaks about the horrors of a future beset by short-term thinkers. Now, Larry didn’t come right out and say that what looks like long-term thinking to a 79-year-old might actually be rather short-term in nature, he simply wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to goad certain 79-year-olds into a response.
Perhaps most germane to his company is how corporate America continues to borrow money to finance special dividends and stock buybacks to please shareholders, including activist investors (such as Carl C. Icahn, a speaker scheduled for Tuesday afternoon).
Mr. Fink noted that companies in the Standard & Poor’s 100-stock index are paying out 108 percent of their earnings to shareholders.
“That can’t last,” he said.
How long must we wait to have these two shouting obscenities at one another live on CNBC?