In an interview on CNBC, legendary investor Carl Icahn highlighted the differences between his investing style and that of fellow billionaire investor Warren Buffett. As Icahn sells to exit his long equity position, Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway are building a cash reserve worth billions. Most notably, Icahn has sold off his shares in Occidental Petroleum in recent weeks while Buffett has been buying up Occidental shares as oil prices soar.
Stating that he and Buffett don’t “disagree completely,” Icahn also called himself an “activist” who looks for companies that are undervalued in a way that he can do something about. Buffett is renowned for his ability to stay the course over the long-term with extreme patience, once writing to shareholders that “our favorite holding period is forever.” Icahn, however, looks to build positions that don’t necessarily look to the horizon, instead choosing the moment to strike and get out with huge profits. Indeed, Icahn sold off all his holdings in Apple in 2016—the same year that Buffett began snapping up Apple shares. It’s now one of Buffett’s biggest successes in the history of his company on paper.
As for Occidental, Icahn started purchasing shares in 2019, reports CNBC, when the company was waging a bidding war for Anadarko Petroleum. The recent sell-off netted him almost $2 billion, though Icahn told CNBC that he still owns the warrants and is “short some stock against it, and short calls against it.”
In the same interview with CNBC, Icahn also said that he believes a recession “or worse” could be on its way, the article concludes.