Financier increases holdings in media conglom
Feisty financier Carl Icahn has acquired 3.9 million more shares in Time Warner since he abandoned his fight early this year to oust management and split the company up.
Icahn Management owns about 49.6 million shares, or 1.2% of TW, according to a quarterly filing Monday with the SEC. He’s increased his holdings by 8.4%, as the previous filing put his tally at 45.8 million shares as of March 31.
With Time Warner’s stock in the doldrums, Icahn mounted a fierce campaign last fall to shake up the giant conglom by splitting it into four pieces. He enlisted Frank Biondi as chairman of a reconstituted TW, and published, with investment bank Lazard, a highly critical analysis of management and strategy.
But he had some trouble raising a slate of alternate directors to launch a true proxy fight and backed off in February after TW agreed to implement some of his suggestions — including a larger share buyback, cost cuts and the appointment of a new independent director.
However, Wall Street’s disaffection with Time Warner hasn’t abated since Icahn moved on: The stock continues to hover around $16. As weeks and months pass with no change, investors are growing increasingly frustrated.
Icahn clearly still believes TW shares are undervalued — whether he thinks aggressive investor pressure, or improved operations, will trigger a rally.
Icahn’s stake in Lionsgate Entertainment, which he acquired in the March quarter, held steady at just over 4.1 million shares.
Icahn remains a major shareholder in Blockbuster Entertainment.