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Financier’s Life Story Turns Into Investment

From Bloomberg News

Carl Icahn’s life story is producing the kind of returns that the billionaire has reaped from more than four decades of investing.

“King Icahn: The Biography of a Renegade Capitalist” by Mark Stevens first sold for $23 when it was published in 1993. The out-of-stock book is now on sale by various merchants on Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. for as much as $240.

“I should have collected” copies of the book, Icahn said. “It would have been a good investment.”

There’s a waiting list for the book at the 58th Street branch of the New York Public Library, and a copy of an article about Icahn is being traded on EBay Inc.'s website.

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“I had no idea,” Stevens said from Purchase, N.Y. “I think I still have a bunch of them here. I could be rich.”

The 69-year-old financier has amassed a $7-billion fortune by buying stakes in what he considered underperforming companies and pushing executives to make changes. Targets included Nabisco Group Holdings Corp., Texaco Inc. and Trans World Airlines Inc., which he took over in 1985.

Investors reaped the rewards. Shares of Nabisco almost tripled in three months after he made his fourth attempt to win control of the company in March 2000. ImClone Systems Inc. jumped 24% between March and July last year, after Icahn boosted his stake in the business. Mylan Laboratories Inc. increased 14% from August 2004 to July, when Icahn owned the stock.

Icahn’s his first job was as a management trainee at Macy’s during the holidays in 1960, after dropping out of medical school and spending six months in the Army, according to “King Icahn.” In 1961, he got his first Wall Street job as a broker trainee at Dreyfus & Co. for $100 a week, Stevens wrote. He started his own firm in 1968.

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For investors seeking to emulate that success, the lowest price for “King Icahn” on Amazon’s website is a “like new” edition for $185, or 57 cents a page. The book is listed for sale by 10 “marketplace sellers,” individuals and stores that sell books through Amazon.com.

Marketplace sellers set their own prices, and there is no bidding or negotiation, said Kristin Schaefer Mariani, a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Amazon.com.


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