Icahn Acquires Majority of TWA’s Stock
Carl C. Icahn, the New York financier who began moving nearly a year ago to win control of Trans World Airlines, announced late Friday that he had acquired a majority of the airline’s stock.
An aide to the businessman said that Icahn and his associates had bought an additional 1.14 million common shares of TWA, giving them 17.5 million shares of the about 34.5 million shares outstanding. That brought his stake to 50.3%, up from the 47% that he reported Thursday.
“It’s his airline now,” said one person--who asked not to be identified--involved in the takeover struggle that erupted when Icahn made known his intentions last May.
The news came after the close of business Friday. Icahn, reached at his home, refused to discuss his plans but said he hopes to reach an agreement soon with TWA’s board to formally support his bid for the remaining stock. Icahn has offered shareholders $24 for the TWA stock that he doesn’t control.
No TWA officials were available for comment, and Texas Air spokesman Bruce Hicks said his company had no comment to make.
Intentions Not Clear
Icahn has not made clear his next move or his intentions for TWA. There have been reports that he plans to fire the current TWA board of directors and replace it with his own choices. There have also been reports that he plans to sell the airline quickly or merge it with another company, perhaps even Texas Air.
In June, in an effort to thwart an Icahn takeover, TWA directors agreed to a merger with Texas Air. That agreement, which includes Texas Air’s offer of $26 per share, is still to be voted upon by TWA’s shareholders.
Since Icahn now controls more than half of the shares, however, there is no question about the outcome of such a vote.
Most observers, however, predict that Francisco Lorenzo, the chairman of Texas Air, will now negotiate with TWA and with Icahn to nullify the agreement. Sources say that Icahn and Lorenzo, who had been holding talks toward a negotiated settlement, are close to an agreement.