Billionaire and investor activist Carl Icahn, who was quick to offer his opinions during Motorola’s restructuring, has increased his stake in the phonemaker to become the company’s largest shareholder. AP reports that Icahn purchased 10.2 million common shares this week to up his stake to almost 10 percent from 8.75 percent in May.
Two years ago, Icahn interjected his opinions about the company, claiming that the board operated like a country club. To end a proxy fight with Icahn, the company gave his representatives two seats on the board. In return, Icahn agreed to end litigation against the company and vote his shares in support of all nominees.
Motorola (NYSE: MOT) plans to break up the company into two publicly held entities early next year to increase the overall value for shareholders. Back in 2008, Icahn was arguing that this was the best path for the company, and was pushing for it to happen as soon as possible. At the time, it was on track to occur in 2009 — which Icahn thought was too long. Now it is likely to be completed in 2011.
In mid-day trading, Motorola’s stock was down 7 cents to trade at $7.99 a share.