Icahn Buys 1 Million Shares in Texaco; Stake at 16.22%
Takeover strategist Carl C. Icahn has purchased another 1 million shares of Texaco Inc., raising his stake to 16.22% of the third-largest U.S. oil company, Icahn disclosed Monday.
In a routine filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn also included a letter addressed to Texaco President James W. Kinnear in which Icahn denied rumors of improperly acting in concert with an unidentified investor to acquire Texaco stock. Icahn is Texaco’s largest stockholder.
“I’ve read with interest newspaper reports that unnamed Texaco officials have been speculating that I may be acting with another investor or partner in connection with my Texaco holdings,” Icahn told Kinnear.
“While I think it is inappropriate for any Texaco official to use the newspapers as a forum to speculate on my intentions, I will nevertheless respond and tell you I am not acting with any partner or other undisclosed person with respect to my Texaco holdings,” he said.
Texaco spokesman Peter Maneri was in a meeting and unavailable to comment, a secretary at the company’s White Plains, N.Y., office said.
In New York Stock Exchange trading Monday, Texaco rose 75 cents a share to $51.375.
Icahn said in the SEC filing that he holds 39.67 million Texaco shares, including the 1 million purchased Dec. 13-14 for prices ranging from $51.375 to $52.375. He gave no reason for increasing the stake.
Icahn has been increasing his pressure on Texaco in recent weeks, raising speculation that he might resurrect a failed takeover bid for the company, the largest U.S. oil concern behind Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp.
Last week, Icahn stoked the rumors by disclosing that he had purchased 2.6 million shares in early December for an average of $50.375 a share.
Securities analysts have said Icahn’s moves evidently reflect his impatience at the pace of the company’s post-bankruptcy restructuring plan announced earlier this year. That plan has failed to substantially raise the value of Texaco’s 240 million shares outstanding.
Last spring, Icahn made an offer for Texaco valued at $14.5 billion, or $60 a share, as part of a shareholder proxy fight to oust the company’s board. But his strategy was defeated by shareholders loyal to the board.
But since then, Texaco’s dismal stock performance has increased the possibility that more shareholders would align themselves with Icahn if he undertook another takeover attempt, analysts have said.