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Carl Icahn Would Have Waged A Proxy Fight For Twitter If Musk Deal Fell Through

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said at Thursday’s Forbes Iconoclast Summit that he would have started a proxy fight against Twitter
TWTR
management if Elon Musk hadn’t closed his $44 billion deal to buy the company.

Icahn revealed that he bought 15 million shares of Twitter’s stock this summer when it was trading at less than $40 per share as Musk tried to back out of his merger agreement in Delaware’s Chancery Court. He figured Musk never had a case so he bought shares, and when the deal did close at its original price of $54.20 per share, Icahn estimates he made a $250 million profit.

“He did pay a little too much for it, but not as bad as people say,” Icahn said. “I think that company is worth in the low $30 [billions] so maybe he did pay a little more, but that’s a rounding error for the guy.”

If the deal hadn’t closed, Icahn says he probably would have started a proxy fight with his sizable stake. He railed against Twitter’s leadership and employees having too much authority to decide who could be on the platform.

“I was looking forward to doing a fight on that one,” he quipped. “I’m not discussing the political aspects of whether or not you should have censorship, but freedom of speech is extremely important.”

Icahn has also profited handsomely this year on his stake in CVR Energy, an energy refiner that has more than doubled this year, though he primarily shared a gloomy outlook on where the stock market is headed in his discussion with Forbes assistant managing editor Steve Bertoni.

“We’re trapped with inflation. Inflation is a terrible thing, and it’s very hard to get rid of once it starts,” Icahn said. “I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Icahn commended Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell for appearing to take inflation seriously after a fourth consecutive interest rate hike of 75 basis points this week. Powell’s hawkish press conference sent the S&P 500 Index down 2.5% Wednesday, and Icahn dismissed any idea of the Federal Reserve pivoting and reversing course from its rate tightening cycle anytime soon.

“It’s like telling a drug addict, ‘Okay you’ve stopped drinking enough now, go have a good time again!,” said Icahn.

The octogenarian activist investor appeared remotely at the event at the New York Historical Society and was presented with the first-ever Forbes Iconoclast award at the end of the summit. Other speakers at the event at the New York Historical Society included luminaries like Ray Dalio, Sam Bankman-Fried, Mary Callahan Erdoes, Lindsey Vonn, Sam Zell, Marc Lasry and Jim Chanos.