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by Tim Parker.
Monday, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn wrote an open
) shareholders saying that he was ending his battle with the Dell
The always kind, humble, and gracious-in-defeat teddy bear of a man
in the letter
, "We therefore congratulate Michael Dell and I intend to call him
to wish him good luck (he may need it)."
The little parting jab at the end notwithstanding, this doesn't
sound like the tone of the normally ferocious Icahn who is one of
the most feared men on Wall Street. The guy who has done a pretty
good job of sending fellow activist Bill Ackman to the Wall Street
cheap seats as Icahn and other giants continue to push
The reason for such a conciliatory tone might be because Icahn
didn't lose at all. In fact, he came out of this looking pretty
First, Icahn stands to make more than $11 million,
. Throughout the fight, insiders speculated that Icahn never wanted
control of the company anyway. He maintained that he had a big-name
CEO ready to take the reins and would stage an epic turnaround
despite a slumping PC market but it was hard to believe that he
really wanted to get into the PC business.
Instead, he walks away with about $11 million and moves on to his
next target-a small little computer company called
Next, although he loves to accuse people like Bill Ackman of
grandstanding, Icahn has become quite the media personality
himself. He's a frequent guest on CNBC including an appearance at
the network's Delivering Alpha conference. Icahn has been around
for years but with his grumpy-old-man, no filter, personality, he
has become a financial media mainstay of late. (To be fair, so has
No doubt that he's now in a position to make a lot of money simply
by advertising his activity. Look at Apple's stock price the day he
tweeted about him and Tim Cook's upcoming lunch date.
And there's no doubt that he knows of his star power. Why else
would a 77-year-old billionaire talk up his Twitter account every
chance he gets?
No, Icahn didn't lose the Dell battle. As he said in his CNBC
interview Monday, he looks for investments that are no-brainers.
Dell was certainly one of those.
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