NEW YORK (TheDeal) -- Raider-turned-activist investor Carl Icahn on Monday launched an campaign aimed at splitting Manitowoc Co. (MTW) into two units -- one for its construction cranes business and the other for its food-service equipment operation.
Shares of the manufacturer based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin were climbing 8.1% to $22.62 on Monday.
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Icahn's campaign comes after another high-profile activist fund, Relational Investors LLC, in June launched a similar insurgency. Even though Relational Investors still reports owning an 8.5% stake, its campaign to have Manitowoc to break itself into the same two units may be on hold -- the fund reportedly recently began the process of winding down its $6 billion portfolio after its co-founder, Ralph Whitworth, had to take a leave from the firm for health reasons. Relational and Icahn officials did not return calls.
Icahn, who reported owning a 7.8% stake in Manitowoc, said he believed the shares were "undervalued" and he hinted in a securities filing that he may soon launch a proxy contest to elect dissident directors at the Wisconsin-based company. He also added that no one from Icahn's firm has had any discussions with Manitowoc officials yet but that he intends to talk with executives. If Icahn does launch a proxy fight, there is already likely a substantial block of shares in support of his campaign -- Icahn and Relational together own roughly 16.3% of the company. In addition, Manitowoc doesn't have long to respond -- the deadline for nominating directors at Manitowoc is coming up in January for a May or June 2015 annual meeting. A Manitowoc official did not return calls.