Hindenburg Research goes after Carl Icahn in latest campaign for market-moving short seller

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Carl Icahn speaking at Delivering Alpha in New York on Sept. 13, 2016.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Notable short seller Hindenburg Research is going after famed activist investor Carl Icahn.

The Nathan Anderson-led firm took a short position against Icahn Enterprises, alleging “inflated” asset valuations, among other reasons, for what it says is an unusually high net asset value premium in shares of the publicly traded holding company.

“Overall, we think Icahn, a legend of Wall Street, has made a classic mistake of taking on too much leverage in the face of sustained losses: a combination that rarely ends well,” Hindenburg Research said in a note released Tuesday.

The shares tumbled 20% on Tuesday.

Icahn, the most well known corporate raider in history, made his name after pulling off a hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines in the 1980s, stripping the company of its assets. Most recently, the billionaire investor has engaged in activist investing in McDonald’s and biotech firm Illumina.

Headquartered in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, Icahn Enterprises is a holding company that involves in a myriad of businesses including energy, automotive, food packaging, metals and real estate.

The conglomerate pays a 15.9% dividend, according to FactSet. Hindenburg said it believes the high dividend yield is “unsupported” by the company’s cash flow and investment performance.

Icahn responded in a statement saying the Hindenburg report was intended “solely” to generate profits on its short position at the expense of Icahn Enterprises’ long-term stakeholders.

“We stand by our public disclosures and we believe that IEP’s performance will speak for itself over the long term as it always has,” Icahn said. “We continue to believe that activism is the best paradigm for investing and my activist investments over the last 25 years have well proved this out.”

Shares of Icahn Enterprises are down 20.3% on the year.

Hindenburg Research goes after famed activist investor Carl Icahn

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