Patience is not a virtue that particularly animates Carl Icahn. His chess-playing son Brett is another matter. He preached it with Netflix, which Dad insisted on selling at least $200 million too soon. And he practices it, most notably in negotiations with his father. Six years ago, he was on the verge of getting Papa’s approval (and money) to start his own hedge fund before talks (again, between father and son) fell apart. Two years later, the shoe was on the other foot: Brett’s four-year deal with his old man was expiring, conveniently right after he’d made his dad (and himself) a whole boatload of money. This time, however, when the elder Icahn drove too hard a bargain, Brett just walked away. More or less, anyway, as he remained a consultant to the family business.
Then, a year ago, Carl joined Brett in sunny Miami, and talks about son rejoining father and eventually taking over from him—already in progress for more than a year—heated up, to the point that The Wall Street Journal reported that a deal was near. Apparently, however, not that near: Dad, of course, wasn’t ready to hang’em up just yet, and Brett wasn’t particularly eager to jump in to what he saw as an unfavorable market and was therefore willing to wait until his former and future boss got a bit more specific about when, exactly, he’d be ready to hand over the reins. Well, Carl’s certainly had plenty of time to think over that thorny question over the last six months.
Mr. Icahn has been laying low since moving to Florida from New York around a year ago. The billionaire hasn’t publicly taken a major new position since last year, though he is still known to spend late nights and weekends working. Since Covid-19 began spreading around the country in mid-March, he has mainly stayed at his beachfront estate on Miami’s exclusive Indian Creek island with his wife Gail, their dogs, and a small staff that brings him a nightly “quarantini” cocktail after tennis.
And the answer still appears to be, “whenever I want to,” but there’s been a compromise: He has to stop wanting to sometime before his 92nd birthday. Or, you know, die trying.
His son, Brett, is rejoining Icahn Enterprises LP, which he left in 2016, the firm said Thursday. He will manage a new team of portfolio managers, buy a $10 million stake in the firm and join its board as part of his 84-year-old father’s succession plan….
The elder Mr. Icahn will for now remain in charge of the publicly traded firm, which hasn’t managed outside money for years and has a market value of roughly $11 billion. But the firm said it would adopt a plan for Brett Icahn to succeed his father as chairman and chief executive of its investment segment either in seven years or sooner at his father’s request.
Brett’s team will pitch ideas to Carl, who will have the final say and require Brett to invest a small amount of his own money into each investment. Rather than oversee a set amount of capital, the amount of money managed by Brett’s team will depend on their investment ideas…. Brett Icahn, who is 41 and decidedly more reserved than his famous father, has already hired three portfolio managers to help him look for the firm’s next activist targets. He said in an interview last year that he plans to employ his father’s favored approach of pushing companies to make changes designed to boost their stock prices, though he hasn’t ruled out friendly bets too.