Are CEOs ready to invest in Icahn's investment firm?

Companies that have faced the wrath of shareholder activist Carl Icahn may be looking for ways to lace up the shoe on that other foot. But think again.

Ed Zander, listen up. Get your wallet ready and shareholder activist hat on.

Your arch nemesis, shareholder activist Carl Icahn, has sold his Icahn Funds, which he manages, to American Real Estate Partners, according to a Reuters report Thursday.

American Real Estate Partners is publicly traded, and Icahn holds a 90 percent stake in the company. So, with AREP purchasing Icahn's private investment funds, which have been vocal on those holdings it deems as poor performers--like Zander's company, Motorola--CEOs such as Zander may want to invest in AREP.

And what might these CEOs do if AREP's performance begins to tank? They could launch a proxy fight, much like Icahn did with Motorola, or initiate a campaign to withhold votes to re-elect AREP's directors and chairman. Icahn, by the way, has agreed to serve as AREP's chairman for five years and as CEO of the Icahn Management Entities.

While any efforts by CEOs to launch a proxy war with Icahn's AREP would be entertaining, in the end, it would be futile. The guy holds a controlling stake and isn't likely to vote himself off the board.

Especially, since they're renaming AREP as Icahn Enterprises.

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About the author

    Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.

     

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