, the financier famed for corporate takeovers, increased his pressure on
Nabisco Group Holdings
Thursday, by offering $1.3 billion to increase his stake in the company to 40%.
If the offer of $13 a share for 100 million shares succeeds, Icahn and a group of partners would immediately seek to sell the company, Icahn said in a statement.
Nabisco shares closed up 2 7/16, or 26%, at 11 3/4 Thursday, stalling 1 1/4 points below Icahn's pitch.
The offer to buy Nabisco, Icahn's fourth since 1995, follows a March 13 proposal to take over the company's board of directors, adding nine members, including himself to the current 11.
Nabisco adopted a so-called poison pill after Icahn made his intentions known, granting current shareholders the right to buy preferred stock after any person gains control of 10 percent of the company's ownership. Icahn already owns around 31 million shares, around 8.9% of the 325 million outstanding shares.
Icahn's offer also faces built-in hurdles: Nabisco would have to approve Icahn's purchase to allow the takeover under Delaware merger laws, and the company would have to change the date of its 2000 annual meeting so that he would be able to vote the shares.
Icahn cited that proposal as evidence of the company's "contempt for shareholders," also noting chief executive Steven Goldstone's $29 million compensation package last year. Icahn also cited the stock's 54% fall since June 1999, when the company was severed from the former RJR Nabisco.
In a statement, the company said Icahn's proposal will be reviewed by the board of directors and urged its stockholders to take no action.