Carl Icahn returns to Greenbrier, shares jump

Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:35am IST

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(Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn reported a 9.99 percent stake in Greenbrier Cos (GBX.N), prompting talk he may revive a failed 2008 bid for the railcar maker and pushing its shares up 20 percent.

Icahn's move makes him the largest shareholder in Greenbrier and he said he wanted talks about strategic opportunities, suggesting he might want to revive his plan to merge the firm with American Railcar Industries Inc (ARII.O), in which he owns a controlling stake.

American Railcar shares also jumped after Icahn revealed the Greenbrier holding.

Greenbrier said late on Tuesday that Icahn contacted Chief Executive Bill Furman on Monday and suggested further discussions possibly relating to strategic opportunities.

However, it said no specific proposals nor specific times were established for further talks.

Greenbrier's board may be more receptive to an approach this time around, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Bascome Majors said.

"With the sheer math of Icahn buying a bigger stake in a company that is trading at a more discounted valuation than his attempt that failed in 2008, you have got to think he has a better case this time around," Majors said.

Greenbrier shares have slid nearly 40 percent since Icahn withdrew his bid in 2008, whereas American Railcar has climbed 35 percent since then.

Icahn on Tuesday also reported increased stakes in video game maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O) and cancer drug developer Enzon Pharmaceuticals Inc (ENZN.O).

WEAK OUTLOOK

Greenbrier, which makes, repairs and refurbishes railroad freight cars, this month forecast a weak 2013, citing uncertainty about global economic growth.

But Majors said it had no burning need for a buyer, despite weak orders for several quarters.

"Even though the stock has underperformed, they should be cash flow positive in 2013, and are in no need of capital right now," Majors said.

CEO Furman, with a 7.11 percent stake, is the second largest shareholder in Greenbrier as of November 12.

American Railcar was among the Icahn-controlled parties listed as holding the Greenbrier stake that Icahn reported in a filing. (link.reuters.com/gud93t)

Greenbrier shares, which have shed 20 percent of their value since the company reported quarterly results on November 1, closed 20 percent up at $16.73 on the New York Stock Exchange.

American Railcar shares closed up 18 percent at $31.16 on the Nasdaq.

EYEING MORE

Icahn raised his stake in Take-Two to 11.69 percent from the 10.68 percent he reported last week, and increased his holding in Enzon to 13.29 percent from 12.23 percent.

Take-Two, known for its Grand Theft Auto computer game, reduced its fiscal 2013 forecast last month saying it revised the release schedule for some of its games.

Biotechnology company Enzon last month swung to a third-quarter profit, its first profit in the last six quarters, as it reduced operating expenses considerably.

Icahn first reported a stake in Enzon in March 2008, with a 6.93 percent holding.

Enzon chairman Alex Denner was in the past associated with Icahn. Denner joined Icahn Enterprises LP in 2006 and had been integral in a number of successful activist campaigns before resigning last year.

Icahn also recently announced a large stake in Netflix Inc (NFLX.O). He said last Thursday that he has considered a hostile takeover bid for the internet streaming company, but was uncertain about his chances of success.

Take-Two and Enzon shares closed flat.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty, Shailesh Kuber and Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Rodney Joyce, Ted Kerr, Maju Samuel)

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