Activist investor Carl Icahn revealed he’s mulling a billion-dollar cryptocurrency bet, disclosed a new stake in Allstate, and warned excessive federal spending will eventually tank the stock market in a pair of Bloomberginterviews this week.
The billionaire boss of Icahn Enterprises also defended Reddit and Robinhood, admitted he missed a trick by selling Hertz last year, and called for tougher financial regulations to protect investors.
Here are Icahn’s 10 best quotes from the interviews, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “It takes a great deal of patience, permanent capital, and negotiating skill – as well as a very thick skin – to be truly a successful activist. Perhaps that’s why it is so lucrative and the best investing model that exists today.”
2. “I’m not necessarily looking at what to buy at this time. I’m just looking at the whole business and how I might get involved in it with Icahn Enterprises in a relatively big way. I do think it’s here to stay in one form or another. – disclosing that he might plow $1 billion or $1.5 billion into cryptocurrencies.
3. “The criticism is a little wrong-headed. ‘What’s the value of a cryptocurrency?’ Well, what’s the value of a dollar? The only value of the dollar is you can use it to pay taxes.”
4. “We do own Allstate, it’s a good example of a company that was undervalued. We bought it around six months ago when it was in the $90s. We never even had to talk to the company because its bosses did what they said there were gonna do. – Allstate, which has been revamping its business to reduce costs and interact directly with customers, boasts a stock price north of $135 today.
5. “We’re pumping a lot of money into this economy. Obviously you’re going to get inflation, which will eventually cause higher interest rates and a major correction in the market. But when it occurs and how severe it will be is a question that is impossible to answer at this time.”
6. “Is it gonna go up and how long is it gonna go up for? I don’t think it’s gonna end tomorrow, I don’t think you should go out and sell your stocks tomorrow. But sooner or later that party’s gonna have to be over.” – warning the boom in asset prices can’t continue indefinitely.
7. “I sure missed the turn there as far as Hertz is concerned. What the heck, you’ve gotta make mistakes in this business, there’s nobody that doesn’t. I congratulate those guys that held it.” – on his decision to sell his Hertz shares at a loss last year, and the news that the bankrupt car-rental company’s shareholders will receive a payout.
8. “I don’t think Reddit and Robinhood and all of those guys are necessarily bad. They serve a purpose, money is funneling back into companies. Some of these companies might be okay, but a number of them, the risk-reward ratio is absurd.” –Icahn described some meme stocks as “ridiculously priced” and warned there will be “a price to pay” in the form of higher inflation and future losses.
9. “Some of these egregious investments, who pays for them? In the end the small individual’s gonna pay. We’re going to excess in a lot of things.” – Icahn highlighted shopping-mall debt and GameStop as examples.
10. “We should do what we can to control Wall Street and this excess buying. We should be doing something to control fund management, we should be doing more corporate governance. If you did all that, a lot of these middle-class people wouldn’t lose all the money they’ve invested when this thing hits.” – calling for stricter government regulation of companies and markets.