From Icahn to Einhorn: 4 investors driving CEOs nuts

While chief executives may well consider this brief list to be a rogues' gallery, anyone who dismisses them is missing the point entirely.

By The Fiscal Times Feb 27, 2013 10:28AM
The Fiscal TimesBy Suzanne McGee

While CEOs in corner offices nationwide may well consider the brief list of activist investors that follows to be a rogues' gallery, anyone who dismisses these four as nothing but troublemakers is missing the point entirely.

Carl Icahn
One of the original agents provocateur of activist investing, Icahn made his name as a "corporate raider" back in the 1980s before venturing into the more nuanced world of the activists. His targets have included Texaco, Time Warner (TWX) and Yahoo (YHOO), and his personal fortune is estimated to be north of $14 billion. Right now, his investments include Chesapeake Energy (CHK), which is struggling with troubled asset sales, low natural gas prices and the legacy of conflicts of interest involving former CEO Aubrey McClendon, and Netflix (NFLX), the movie rental business working to recast itself in the digital streaming age.

Bill Ackman
Icahn believes Herbalife (HLF) is a viable business; Ackman thinks it's a pyramid scheme. The smackdown between the two titans made for great CNBC television, but Harvard MBA Ackman has earned kudos from his peers for his tenacity in chasing down the problems at the heart of muni bond insurance firm MBIA (MBI). Like other activists, his conviction that he is right doesn't always translate into bottom-line profits: He lost money on Target (TGT) and is seeing big losses on his outsize position in J.C. Penney (JCP).

CEO Comstock JupiterimagesDavid Einhorn
The 1991 Cornell grad made his name with his prescient call on Lehman Brothers, but had spent several years training to be a gadfly. He's placed a big bet on the ultimate demise of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), but not all of his positions have proved as lucrative. For instance, a position in BioFuel Energy (BIOF), an ethanol producer, has done little to boost returns for investors in his Greenlight Capital funds. Still, his comments that he is openly shorting a company like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) can be the kiss of death.

Daniel Loeb
This verbose veteran of the activist wars has been quieter of late than he was in the 1990s, when he would file multi-page letters to corporate management teams with the SEC, laying out their alleged misdeeds and missteps one after another. More recently, his activism has been less public, but in restructuring companies like Delphi Automotive (DLPH) it's clear that the same basic principles – how a company can be run more efficiently and profitably – still guide him. More recently, he's been outspoken about Yahoo, which as of year-end accounted for more than a quarter of the nearly $5.5 billion he manages.

Suzanne McGee is a columnist at The Fiscal Times. Subscribe to The Fiscal Times' FREE newsletter.

More from The Fiscal Times
0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

124
124 rated 1
279
279 rated 2
471
471 rated 3
714
714 rated 4
642
642 rated 5
604
604 rated 6
614
614 rated 7
450
450 rated 8
303
303 rated 9
115
115 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
ARCPAMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL PROPERTIES Inc10
BIDUBAIDU Inc10
CITCIT GROUP Inc NEW10
HPQHEWLETT PACKARD CO10
ITUBITAU UNIBANCO BANCO MULTIPLO S.A.10
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.