Carl Icahn's takeover bid for Clorox (CLX) is yet another deft move for the aging businessman.
On Friday it was announced that the notorious corporate raider had presented a bid worth 12.6 billion to take the Oakland-based bleach-product maker private. The bid, financed by Jeffries and Co., would offer shareholders $76.50 per share, approximately a 12 percent increase of the stock's current price.
But not only did Icahn make a bid on the company, he also basically encouraged other major companies to join in on the bidding. Icahn noted in his letter that companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate Palmolive could all be better options for Clorox.
We understand that we are a financial buyer that lacks inherent synergies and therefore strongly suggest that the Board aggressively pursue a transaction with a strategic buyer, which should attract a higher price, a letter from Icahn states.
Why exactly would Icahn effectively advertise against himself?
Because as the company's largest shareholder, Icahn stands to gain whether the company takes his bid or a competitor's bid.
He can't lose either way, it appears.
By offering a 12 percent increase of the stock price in his bid, Icahn has almost guaranteed himself to come out on top. He is either going to get a quality company for a very good price, or he will force a competitor to beat his price and earn himself a substantial payday as the company's largest shareholder.
Not surprisingly, on the day of the announcement, Clorox stock has soared. As of 11:15 on Friday, shares were up close to seven percent.
Not only is Icahn already making money, but he also cleverly picked a summer Friday when not much else was going on. This allows for his takeover bid to dominate the financial news airwaves, and possibly put some extra pressure on potential buyers.
It puts it in the headlines because he timed it that way. It's a slow summer Friday, Jay Suskind, senior vice president of Duncan Williams, told The Street. Over the weekend, there will (be) lots of talk about and, all of a sudden, it forces someone to make a move. This will get the suitors out there because they don't want to be late to the party.
Additionally, Clorox will have to make a decision on the bid by July 29. That short timeline won't force Clorox to accept the bid if it finds it to be substandard, but it does bring a bit more pressure to the table. Icahn is hoping that companies will see his bid, know his reputation, and try to get in on the action.
Analysts like Suskind have speculated that Icahn really wants no part of the company and just wants to get the stock price up to $100 and then get out -- a classic pump and dump strategy.
Whether that's the case, or whether Icahn has sincere interest in taking the private, he's determined to come out on top either way.