What Companies Does Carl Icahn Own? Unveiling the Billionaire’s Portfolio

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Carl Icahn is a prominent figure in the investment world, often recognized for his aggressive investment style and his role in influencing company policies. As the founder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified conglomerate, he has significant holdings in various industries. Through his company, Icahn has been intricately involved in several high-profile business deals and has amassed a noteworthy portfolio of companies that spans energy, automotive, food packaging, metals, real estate, and home fashion sectors.

Icahn’s investment decisions are closely watched by many in the financial sector, as his stakes often lead to changes within the companies he invests in. His role as an activist investor marks a storied career characterized by his ability to identify undervalued companies and push for structural changes aimed at increasing shareholder value. The portfolio of Icahn Enterprises is a testament to the business acumen of Carl Icahn, with major investments in companies such as CVR Energy and various others, illustrating his diverse and expansive influence.

Key Takeaways

  • Carl Icahn owns a range of companies through Icahn Enterprises, with investments in numerous industries.
  • His approach as an activist investor has had significant impacts on the firms he invests in.
  • Icahn’s portfolio highlights his strategic investment decisions, influencing both the companies and the broader market.

Early Life and Education

Carl Icahn’s journey into the financial world began with a solid foundation in education, set against the backdrop of New York’s boroughs. An insight into these formative years helps understand the investor he eventually became.

Far Rockaway

Born in Queens, New York, Carl Icahn spent his early life in the neighborhood of Far Rockaway. This area in the borough played a significant role in Icahn’s upbringing and initial education.

Princeton University

Following his graduation from high school, he delved into higher education at Princeton University. Majoring in philosophy, Icahn sharpened his analytical skills, which would later become a cornerstone of his investment strategies.

New York University

The pursuit of knowledge took Icahn to New York University for medical school, but his interest in the world of business eventually overrode his plans in medicine. Here, he began to lay the groundwork for his later forays into finance and investing.

Beginnings in Wall Street

Carl Icahn’s early years on Wall Street laid the groundwork for his future successes in the business world. This period was marked by his foray into options trading and the foundation of his own brokerage firm.

Options Trading

Carl Icahn began his career on Wall Street with a focus on options trading, a type of derivatives trading that involves the right to buy or sell a security at a predetermined price. This early engagement with options trading provided Icahn with a deep understanding of the markets and would later become a cornerstone of his investment methods.

Tappan & Co.

In 1968, Icahn took a significant step forward by establishing his own brokerage firm, Icahn & Co. With a primary focus on options trading and risk arbitrage, the firm solidified his presence on Wall Street and became a platform for Icahn’s future forays into the world of finance.

Rise as a Corporate Raider


Carl Icahn made a name for himself in the corporate world as a shrewd and formidable corporate raider during the 1980s. His aggressive strategy often involved accumulating significant portions of company stock, leading to major corporate restructuring or the sale of the company. This section explores his notable acquisitions and hostile takeover attempts, focusing on his dealings with TWA and his infamous corporate raiding practices.

TWA Acquisition

In the case of Trans World Airlines (TWA), Carl Icahn executed a strategic acquisition that would become one of his most famed deals. In 1985, through the leveraging of substantial debt, Icahn took control of the airline. His management involved redirecting TWA’s assets in such a way that benefited his own financial position, often to the detriment of the company’s long-term health.

Hostile Takeovers

The hallmark of a corporate raider’s success often lay in their hostile takeover attempts, and Icahn excelled in this area. His bold tactics reshaped industries, as seen with his attempts on Phillips Petroleum and Texaco. Icahn’s approach to Phillips Petroleum included purchasing a large stock portion and threatening a takeover, which led Phillips to buy back their stock at a premium to fend him off. Similarly, with Texaco, he bought significant shares, becoming a leading force that eventually led to a lucrative settlement for shareholders, including himself. These moves secured Icahn’s position as a legendary figure in the realm of corporate takeovers.

Icahn Enterprises Portfolio

The portfolio of Icahn Enterprises LP reflects a diversified conglomerate with significant investments across various sectors, including energy, automotive, and real estate.

CVR Energy

CVR Energy Inc. stands out as a key component within Icahn Enterprises‘ portfolio, operating in the energy sector. They primarily focus on petroleum refining and nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing, playing a pivotal role in the energy market.

Real Estate & Casino

The real estate investments under Icahn Enterprises encompass a range of properties, including commercial spaces and casino facilities. Notably, they have holdings in the lucrative real estate markets such as Florida, where their casino operations also contribute to their portfolio’s diversity.


In the Automotive sector, Icahn Enterprises holds influential stakes. Their presence is significant, with investments that cater to various automotive needs, from parts manufacturing to service centers.

Railcar Manufacturing

The portfolio also extends to the manufacturing of railcars, with American Railcar representing this industrial segment. This entity underscores Icahn Enterprises‘ investment in durable goods and transportation equipment, which is foundational to trade and commerce.

Key Investment Decisions

Carl Icahn is known for making significant investments in various companies, often with the intention of influencing their strategic direction. The following subsections outline some of the notable investments he has made in various enterprises.


Icahn’s foray into Netflix was marked by the acquisition of a 10% stake in the company in 2012. He capitalized on Netflix’s potential for growth in the streaming industry, which was relatively young at the time. The position was sold in 2015, netting a substantial profit and demonstrating Icahn’s knack for timely investments.


In 2013, Icahn began purchasing Apple shares, eventually becoming one of its top shareholders. He was a vocal advocate for the company to increase its share buybacks, a move he believed would enhance shareholder value. Although he exited the position in 2016, Icahn’s involvement with Apple is often cited as a classic example of his activist investment approach.


Icahn’s investment in Herbalife is noteworthy for its contentious nature amidst accusations of the company being a pyramid scheme. He took a contrarian view and invested heavily in the company, even increasing his stake to become its largest shareholder. This investment also became famous for Icahn’s public defense of Herbalife against criticism from other investors.

Investment Strategies


Carl Icahn’s investment strategies demonstrate a meticulous approach to maximizing value from his holdings. He employs methods such as risk arbitrage and shareholder activism, skillfully navigating the complexities of the market to enhance his investments’ performance.

Risk Arbitrage

In the realm of risk arbitrage, Icahn capitalizes on discrepancies in stock prices before corporate events such as mergers and acquisitions. He purchases shares of the company being acquired, betting on the successful completion of the deal and thus harvesting the benefits from the price differential.

Shareholder Activism

Carl Icahn is synonymous with shareholder activism, where he plays a pivotal role in driving corporate changes. He acquires significant stakes in undervalued companies and then seeks to increase shareholder value through various means. This can involve pushing for strategic changes, influencing management decisions, and sometimes initiating a proxy fight for a board seat. This active intervention has firmly established Icahn’s reputation in the investment community.

Impact on Corporate America

Carl Icahn’s influence on corporate America is indisputable, particularly through his consistent involvement in pushing for change within the companies he invests in. His tactics often lead to significant shifts in company policies and management.

Board of Director Changes

Icahn Enterprises, led by Carl Icahn, is known for advocating for changes in the boards of directors of the companies in which it holds interests. These changes can profoundly affect corporate governance and strategic direction. For instance, their involvement in companies sometimes leads to the installation of new members on the board who align with Icahn’s vision for the company’s future.

Policy Influences

The policy impacts of Icahn’s corporate actions are visible across various companies. In the case of McDonald’s, for example, he has been vocal about animal welfare, challenging the company to abolish the use of gestation crates. This push towards ethical policies not only affects McDonald’s but also has ripple effects across the food industry, prompting broader discussions and potential policy shifts regarding corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

Philanthropy and Personal Life

Carl Icahn’s philanthropy efforts are as noteworthy as his business acumen. He has directed substantial donations to medical and educational causes, reflecting his dedication to societal advancement.

Icahn School of Medicine

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City has been a significant beneficiary of Carl Icahn’s generosity. In recent years, he donated $200 million to the institution, a gift that illustrates his commitment to medical education and research.

Charitable Endeavors

In his philanthropic portfolio, Carl Icahn has also established and continuously supports a network of six charter schools, which have reported comparatively higher test scores. His charitable endeavors extend beyond just education; they reflect a broader mission to nurture the potential of the next generation.

Icahn has been married and values family, seeing his own children as integral to his life. He upholds the belief that his work, including his philanthropy, will create a better world for both his family and countless others.

Comparisons and Influences

Carl Icahn’s investment strategies often draw comparisons to other titans in the field, and his influence on the market can be associated with the impacts of these leading figures.

Warren Buffett

While Carl Icahn and Warren Buffett operate within the same spheres of high-stakes investing, their approaches are distinctly unique. Buffett is known for his value investing philosophy, choosing companies with strong fundamentals for long-term holding. On the other hand, Icahn’s style is often more aggressive, taking sizable stakes in businesses to advocate for change and unlock value.

Other Influential Investors

Icahn’s positioning in significant companies sometimes reflects strategies observed in other influential investors and investment funds. For instance, like Donald Trump’s ventures into real estate and entertainment, Icahn has also played a notable role in the gaming industry, using his billionaire investor status to effect change in company operations and management.

Net Worth and Legacy


Carl Icahn’s journey from a modest beginning to a towering figure in investment is marked by his significant net worth and the legacy he is setting. His strategies and achievements have made him a noteworthy mentor for aspiring investors.

Forbes Ranking

Carl Icahn’s net worth, as reported by Forbes, places him amongst the wealthiest individuals in the world. In 2023, Forbes listed him as #94 on the Forbes 400, reflecting both his financial success and standing as a billionaire investor. His wealth is primarily attributed to his smart investment strategies and a lifetime of business acumen.

Influence on Future Generations

Icahn’s influence extends beyond the magnitude of his wealth; he has shaped the landscape of investment and corporate governance. His approach to investing and his capacity to enact change in the companies he invests in has set a precedent for future generations. By advocating for shareholders and pushing for corporate changes, he has left a legacy that will instruct and inspire future investors and entrepreneurs.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are a selection of queries typically asked about the business endeavors and investments of billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

What are the main businesses under the Icahn Enterprises portfolio?

Icahn Enterprises has a diverse range of investments across several industries, including energy, automotive, food packaging, metals, real estate, and home fashion.

How has Carl Icahn influenced the stock market through his investments?

Carl Icahn is renowned for his activist investment strategy, often taking large positions in companies and pushing for changes to increase shareholder value, significantly affecting stock prices and market trends.

Which companies has Icahn Enterprises recently invested in or divested from?

As of the last filing date, Icahn Enterprises had not purchased any new stocks; however, their top holdings included companies like CVR Energy Inc and Southwest Gas Holdings Inc.

Can you give an overview of Carl Icahn’s most significant business accomplishments?

Carl Icahn has gained a reputation for outperforming the market over the long term, with a financial savvy that has led to numerous successful investments and substantial growth of Icahn Enterprises’ value over the decades.

Who holds significant ownership in Icahn Enterprises alongside Carl Icahn?

Carl Icahn is the majority owner of Icahn Enterprises, controlling approximately 85 percent of the conglomerate, with the rest of the ownership spread among various investors.

What is the estimated value of Carl Icahn’s financial empire in 2023?

While the exact value is subject to market fluctuations, Carl Icahn’s investments, predominantly through Icahn Enterprises, continue to hold substantial worth, reflecting his strategic investment choices and market influence.