By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Carl Icahn’s publicly traded investment vehicle, Icahn Enterprises L.P., reported strong third-quarter results on Monday and the billionaire said now is the best time ever to be an activist investor.
Shares of Icahn Enterprises, in which Icahn owns an 89 percent stake, jumped 6.5 percent on Monday to $108.78 and are up 145 percent in 2013.
Icahn Enterprises’ earnings report also showed that Icahn’s investment fund rose 26.3 percent from the start of the year through Sept. 30, owing to investments in companies like Netflix and Herbalife, according to his firm’s 10Q regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Icahn, who has made a fortune by taking big stakes in companies and pushing for management change, said that now is the best time in history to be an activist investor.
“In my opinion there has never been a better time than today for activist investing, if practiced properly,” Icahn said in his firm’s earnings statement.
Icahn said that interest rates near zero, which the Federal Reserve has maintained through its bond-buying stimulus, have made acquisitions less expensive and easier to do.
The U.S. central bank is currently buying $85 billion in Treasuries and agency mortgage securities per month. The Fed has held interest rates near zero since late 2008 and has quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to more than $3.7 trillion through three rounds of bond buying.
Icahn also said that many institutional investors have become aware of unproductive top-level management and understand that they “must be dealt with” in order to improve high unemployment and U.S. competitiveness.
He said his firm’s past performance will “pale in comparison to what is yet to come” given those current benefits. He noted that his firm’s stock price has risen about 1,500 percent since the start of 2000 through Oct. 31.
Shares of Icahn Enterprises L.P. traded at $7.41 at the close of trading on December 31, 1999 and at $101.70 at the close of October 31 of this year, marking a 1,272.5 percent increase.
The firm reported net income of $472 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, or $4.10 per unit, up from 75 cents in the prior year. The firm also reported revenues of $5.7 billion for the quarter, up from $4.5 billion the previous year.
Icahn, who owns over 4.7 million shares in technology giant Apple Inc., has been pushing for Apple to implement a $150 billion share buy-back.
His efforts have drawn scrutiny from PIMCO co-founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer Bill Gross, who wrote on his firm’s Twitter account on Oct. 24 that “Icahn should leave Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates. If Icahn’s so smart, use it to help people not yourself.”
Icahn on Monday showed no sign of changing his long-standing strategy, saying “I believe that by far the best method to utilize in investing is the ‘Activist’ model.”