The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Oct. 25
2. Icahn's Emmy
Icahn Family Feud? Brett's Father Knows Best? $800 Million Is Enough for Carl?
Honestly, we're not sure what to call it, but we certainly enjoyed the show Icahn & Son put on Netflix (NFLX) this week.
A Tuesday SEC filing revealed that activist investor Carl Icahn unloaded more than half of his Netflix stake, or nearly 3 million shares, for a 457% profit. The billionaire and his son Brett purchased the shares for about $58 each, and sold them in several blocks this month for $304.23 and $341.44 apiece. Shares of the movie streaming service hit an all-time high on Tuesday of $389, but investors eventually followed Icahn's lead and took profits. Shares of Netflix finished Tuesday's wild ride down 9% at $322.52.Take note. We are not calling the Icahn clan dumb for making what is clearly a phenomenal trade. Such a statement would put us securely atop our very own list. That said, it's hard for us to not to chuckle at the sit-com like dynamics of the Icahn family as exposed by the press release that accompanied the filing. "We believe the company remains significantly undervalued," wrote Brett Icahn. "As a subscription service priced at only $7.99 per month, we believe Netflix is one of the great consumer bargains of our time." That's beyond bullish. So much so that one might wonder why Brett would part with a single share of Netflix, and even more so since he brought the idea to his pop in the first place! Brett, if you were unaware, co-manages a fund called Sargon with an Icahn Enterprises (IEP) portfolio manager named David Schechter. Sargon was seeded and is supervised by dad, Carl. (Brett could have had a really swell car but took $3 billion to play with instead.) Despite the fact that Brett gave him a gift worth more than $800 million (Brett could easily have given his dad a tie or golf club), Papa Carl had other plans for the stock, which he spelled out in a separate note. "While I basically agree with David and Brett's assessment above and have often held positions for many years, as a hardened veteran of seven bear markets I have learned that when you are lucky and/or smart enough to have made a total return of 457% in only 14 months it is time to take some of the chips off the table," wrote Carl in his dissenting opinion. Yes, just like in the Cunningham or Huxtable households on TV, paternal wisdom always wins out in the end. We're not sure if Brett threw a temper tantrum at the dinner table following his dad's decision to sell, but we do know that he'll get his chance for a spin-off soon enough. Brett's investing tryout with Sargon ends when Carl Icahn turns 80 in 2016. For the record, Carl did thank his son in his note for the goldmine of a stock tip. Hilariously, the billionaire also thanked Netflix CEO Reed Hastings for a "job well done", as well as Ted Sarandos, "the rest of the Netflix team", and "last but not least" actor Kevin Spacey, who stars in the company's House of Cards series. What a great speech! There you have it folks. This year's Emmy winner for best billionaire father in a comedy or business show: Carl Icahn.
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