Activist investor Carl Icahn is urging Manitowoc to split itself into two units -- and is hinting that he may soon launch a proxy fight to elect new company directors. Icahn, who said he owns a 7.8% stake in Manitowoc, is encouraging the company to split its construction cranes business from its food service equipment operation, calling the shares 'undervalued.' He follows similar moves by activist fund Relational Investors, which owns an 8.5% stake in the company, and said in a June filing that it could seek to drive the company to hold a special shareholder meeting, expediting the timeframe for a proxy contest. However, as Manitowoc has a classified board, only a minority slate of directors are up for election every year and any proxy fight could only succeed at installing a short-slate of directors.
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