CNBC must be reeling this morning as probably the highest-rated rivalry among hedge-fund managers has ended. As The WSJ reports, the hatchet was buried on Thursday. Mr. Ackman spoke with Mr. Icahn's assistant on April 24 saying, "I am calling to forgive Carl," according to Mr. Ackman. Mr. Icahn, 78 years old, returned the call and told Mr. Ackman, 47, that "it is a blessing to forgive," Mr. Icahn said, "and I forgive you." The acrimonious activists thus closed the door on one of the ugliest spats in financial market history as forgiving being called "a crybaby" and forgetting being labelled "a dishonest man" has been trumped by. as Ackman notes, the "much greater possibility that we are on the same side than the opposite."
As WSJ reports, one of Wall Street's ugliest spats ended last week with a phone call.
The hatchet was buried on Thursday. Mr. Ackman spoke with Mr. Icahn's assistant on April 24 saying, "I am calling to forgive Carl," according to Mr. Ackman. Mr. Icahn, 78 years old, returned the call and told Mr. Ackman, 47, that "it is a blessing to forgive," Mr. Icahn said, "and I forgive you."
The development suggests that the duo, who famously clashed on their views about nutrition company Herbalife, could team up on activist investments, where investors push for broad changes at companies or try to move prices with their arguments. Neither would name a target or timetable.
In the future, Mr. Ackman said: "There is a much greater possibility that we are on the same side than the opposite."
Mr. Icahn made the first overture last week. Appearing on CNBC, he said he didn't see "anything illegal" about Mr. Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP teaming up with a pharmaceutical company to try to buy Botox maker Allergan Inc. "We have our differences, but I never said he's not a smart guy," Mr. Icahn said of Mr. Ackman on CNBC. "I think the concept of this is good. I hope it works out better for him than Herbalife did, and, I think, will. ...I never thought I'd be here defending Ackman."
Mr. Ackman and Mr. Icahn say they spoke on Thursday for about 30 minutes and agreed that they saw eye to eye on some issues.
Of course, it isn't the first peace pipe Mr. Icahn has smoked with rivals recently.
On April 10, Mr. Icahn agreed to drop his push for eBay Inc. to spin off PayPal and in the process settled with the company on a new independent director.
And after a nasty proxy battle with Forest Laboratories Inc. in June 2013, Mr. Icahn has made nice with the company's chief executive, Howard Solomon, who now says he has become "quite friendly" with Mr. Icahn.
One can't help but wonder whether Icahn wants in on the next major non-insider-trading non-front-running Pharma deal Ackman does... or whether Icahn is about to fold on HLF after last night's revelation of the massive hollowing out of the company - which has removed it from a potential LBO due to the public leverage. Either way, we suspect "being the bigger man" is not the reason for these two managers to kiss and make up.