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Carl Icahn Cuts Netflix Stake in Half

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn filed to sell nearly 3 million shares of Netflix, citing a 457% return since he acquired the stake last year, while retaining 2.7 million shares in the company.

In a statement, Icahn said that “as a hardened veteran of seven bear markets I have learned that when you are lucky and/or smart enough to have made a total return of 457% in only 14 months it is time to take some of the chips off the table.”

On the Icahn disclosure, Netflix shares dropped 2% in after-hours trading, to about $315.55 per share. Netflix shares closed Tuesday at $322.52 per share, down 9% for the day, after a huge run-up Monday prior to the company reporting better-than-expected third quarter earnings.

Icahn Enterprises L.P. and its affiliates on Tuesday filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission an amendment to their Schedule 13D reflecting the sale of 2,989,000 shares of Netflix common stock from Oct. 10 to 22.

Icahn originally bought a 9.98% stake in Netflix for $58 per share in October 2012. He most recently reported owning 9.4% of Netflix shares in June and with the sale will now own 4.5% of the company’s shares.

After investors bid up Netflix shares to record levels on Monday, analysts warned that Netflix’s current valuation was not justified by the company’s fundamentals. Even CEO Reed Hastings expressed concern about investor “euphoria” around the stock.

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