Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tricky for oldies

The March 20 New Yorker has a fascinating article, "The Raid: How Carl Icahn came up short," referring to his aborted raid on Time-Warner. It's all about big deals and big stakes.

The story also includes: "With much less success, Icahn went after Blockbuster. In December, 2004, he announced that his nearly ten-percent ownership of the video-rental chain made him its largest individual shareholder, and he championed a merger between Blockbuster and a rival, Hollywood Entertainment. Icahn also demanded that shareholders be paid a three-hundred-and-thirty-million-dollar dividend, and he waged a proxy fight to elect himself and two other dissidents to the seven-member board of directors. Icahn won the three seats, but he misjudged the business.'He operates on instinct,' an Icahn advisor said. 'He thought Blockbuster was a monopoly and was poorly run. He didn't know about Netflix ...'"

Making big bucks bets in the fast-moving digital world is tricky for oldies.