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Icahn Says He Has Raised His Texaco Stake to 15.8%

Associated Press

Carl C. Icahn disclosed today he has raised his stake in Texaco Inc. to 15.8%, raising fresh questions about the takeover strategist’s ultimate plans regarding the third-largest U.S. oil company.

Icahn said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he purchased 2.6 million shares of Texaco stock between Dec. 7 and Dec. 12 for $131 million, or an average of about $50.37 1/2 a share. His filing did not not explain why he bought the stock.

But the move vaulted Icahn’s stake over the 15% threshold, which under the takeover laws of Delaware, where Texaco is incorporated, means he must raise his ownership to 85% or wait at least three years before attempting any acquisition effort that would result in the company’s breakup.

Wall St. Rumors Abound

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Wall Street has been rife with rumors lately that Icahn--Texaco’s largest shareholder--might renew his effort to either buy the company, provoke a takeover attempt by some other investor or conduct a second shareholder proxy fight to wrest control of Texaco from its board of directors.

His first effort to win control in a shareholder vote was defeated earlier this year. But Icahn didn’t rule out the possibility of undertaking another fight later.

Icahn’s disclosure today further clouded his intentions, because it was seen as a possible sign he might want to sell out his interest in Texaco.

Texaco stock rose $1.50 a share to $52.25 in heavy early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, reflecting speculation that Icahn’s move might at least provoke another takeover bid.

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Officials at Texaco’s White Plains, N.Y., headquarters declined to comment on Icahn’s stock purchase. Icahn did not return telephone calls to his executive offices in nearby Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

Regarded as Shrewd

Icahn is chairman of Trans World Airlines Inc., one of his successful acquisitions, and widely is regarded as a shrewd financier and takeover investor who has gone after some of the biggest U.S. corporations, such as USX Corp. and Phillips Petroleum Co.

He began building a stake in Texaco as the company was struggling to emerge from federal bankruptcy court protection between April, 1987, and May, 1988. Texaco sought protection as a result of Pennzoil Co.'s record $10.3-billion judgment against Texaco over the disputed purchase of Getty Oil Co. in 1984.

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