Activist Investor Carl Icahn Ups Motorola Stake, But Skips Annual Meeting

Investor Carl Icahn put his wallet where his mouth is and increased his stake in the company from 6.4% to 7.6%.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

May 8, 2008

1 Min Read

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has been pressuring Motorola management to streamline its businesses in anticipation of a breakup, has put his wallet where his mouth is: He's increased his stake in the company from 6.4% to 7.6%.

The investment, noted in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is some welcome news after the beleaguered company disappointed shareholders at this week's annual meeting. Company leaders provided no answers or immediate solutions to the problems that have led to an exodus of top Motorola executives and a plunge in Motorola stock of some 45% in recent months.

Icahn now owns more than 172 million shares of Motorola. Icahn's threatened proxy fight was avoided when Motorola's management agreed to seat two of Icahn's board candidates: Keith Meister and William Hambrecht. Icahn also could take solace in Motorola's decision to split the company into two parts, a move similar to Icahn's earlier campaign urging a break up of the company.

Icahn didn't attend the annual meeting and he didn't need to, as the new slate of directors passed with 95% stockholder support.

Addressing problems in its Mobile Devices unit, chief executive Greg Brown said Motorola expects to have a beefed-up line of handsets in 2009, which is the same year the company has targeted for dividing Motorola into two companies -- Mobile Devices and its Broadband & Mobility Solutions unit.

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