Icahn Biotech Stakes Rise on Drugmaker Demand as Markets Gyrate

Bloomberg – Carl Icahn, the investor angling to sell a 13 percent stake in Imclone Systems Inc. for more than $800 million, is piling up bets in the biotechnology industry.

Icahn and hedge funds he manages have accumulated stakes in at least 10 biotechnology companies that make up a fifth of the investors’ total publicly reported holdings, excluding shares of Icahn Enterprises LP. He and the funds have about $1.3 billion invested in biotech, four times as much as two years ago, and increased those bets by $320 million in the last two months alone, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The 72-year-old has made his personal fortune, estimated at $14.5 billion by Forbes magazine, by investing in companies and then pressuring management into selling their companies at higher share prices. The strategy worked for airlines, refiners and casinos. Icahn is now targeting biotech companies, whose products make them appealing to pharmaceutical giants, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and AstraZeneca Plc, that will be losing patent protection over the next four years on medicines with $84 billion in annual sales.

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