As Taylor Swift Crooned, Karma is a God, as Activist Takes on Notorious Activist 

Oh, how the tables have turned. Short-seller Nathan Anderson’s Hindenburg Research put out its latest report targeting none other than Icahn Enterprises (IEP), the holding company owned by octogenarian corporate raider Carl Icahn. Hindenburg makes the case that IEP is an elaborate, overvalued company relative to its assets and its peers and features “Ponzi-like economic structures.” Icahn responded with a truism, labeling the report as self-serving and “intended solely to generate profits for Hindenburg’s short position.” Umm yes.


Indeed, short seller Dan David of Wolf Pack Research said about Icahn’s retort, “It was a weak, condescending and glib response. To simply say Hindenburg put out this report for self-serving reasons and to make money, Carl used to know that was a definition of investing when he was breaking up TWA for parts or short-squeezing Herbalife.” 


As Reuters Breakingviews’ Lauren Silva Laughlin writes, “It’s not obvious the octogenarian’s typical bellicosity will keep it from going further down in flames.”


On Twitter, Icahn is facing a Greek Chorus of investors and executives who can hardly contain their schadenfreude. Bill Ackman, who has some infamous history with Icahn, relished the moment tweeting, “there is a karmic quality to this short report that reinforces the notion of a circle of life and death,” and called the report a must-read. Michael Dell, who has sparred with Icahn at least twice, called the Hindenburg report “pure gold.” IEP is down about 40% this week.


GPP headed west earlier this week and caught up with many clients and friends at the annual Milken Conference in Beverly Hills. Participants rubbed shoulders with titans of industry and members of Congress such as Sen. Joe Manchin to John Legend and Alex Rodriguez, aka A-Rod. Media was everywhere, including great interviews by Sonali Basak of Bloomberg, Brian Sozzi of Yahoo Finance and David Faber of CNBC.

We sat in on a number of great panels, including one on making capitalism more inclusive with Margaret Anadu, senior partner at impact firm Vistria Group, who noted that housing was a critical factor in making the model work for everyone. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser and Apollo Global Management CEO Marc Rowan weighed in on the state of global capital markets, both echoing that the U.S. financial system is the envy of the world. Fraser emphasized her confidence in the banking system, telling Brian Sozzi that the First Republic situation was, “the last of the remaining uncertainty” amongst smaller banks but to expect “more consolidation.” Rowan similarly expects “a real shakeout as to what the business is of regional banking going forward.”

We also went to The M&A State of Play panel Tuesday morning hosted by Axios’s Dan Primack. He joked at the beginning of the panel looking out at the half empty room that “this is a sign of where the M&A market is.” Panelists included Mark McMaster, global head of M&A at Lazard, noted “market valuations are down but so are those of the potential targets. So, transactions can get done without leveraging up balance sheets.”


Have a great weekend,

GPP Team 


Hindenburg Research: Icahn Enterprises: The Corporate Raider Throwing Stones From His Own Glass House

The notorious short-seller Nathan Anderson’s research firm issued its latest report, this time targeting the holding company owned by activist investor Carl Icahn. Read More

Bloomberg: Icahn the Hunter Has Become the Hunted

Ed Hammond penned an opinion column that weighs in on Hindenburg’s latest research report targeting Carl Icahn. Hammond compares the track-record of both Hindenburg and Icahn and speculates on what the report and its impacts on IEP’s stock may mean for the corporate raider moving forward. Read More

Reuters' Breakingviews: Carl Icahn Will Struggle to Play Tough Defense

Lauren Silva Laughlin summarized the latest report by short seller firm Hindenburg Research claiming that Icahn Enterprises, the holding company owned by activist investor Carl Icahn, is grossly overvalued and is a “Ponzi-like” business operation. Read More


Cooley PubCo: SEC Reopens Comment Period for Proposal to Amend Beneficial Ownership Reporting Rules

Cydney Posner breaks down how the SEC's proposed rule changes to accelerate 13D filing deadlines could potentially decrease returns for shareholder activists and improve general trust in the stock market. Read More

M&A and IPO

Financial Times: UK Opens Probe into $20bn Bid by Adobe for Figma

The Competition and Markets Authority, the UK’s antirust watchdog, has initiated an investigation into Adobe’s planned takeover of the software company Figma. Although the deal was announced nine months ago, Kate Beioley, Cristina Criddle and Javier Espinoza report that the deal will likely undergo significant regulatory scrutiny in the months ahead. Read More

The Wall Street Journal: Toronto-Dominion Bank, First Horizon Call Off Merger

TD Bank and First Horizon scrapped their proposed merger due to significant regulatory obstacles preventing the deal's approval, an announcement that comes at a "precarious time" for regional banks such as First Horizon, Vipal Monga and Adriano Marchese report. Read More

Financial Times: China Dominates Global IPO Market as Wall Street Fails to Rebound

As inflation, high interest rates and regulatory scrutiny continue to hinder dealmaking and IPOs in the U.S., George Steer, Nicholas Megaw and Hudson Lockett shine a light on China’s comparatively robust market, which is being largely stimulated by domestic policies designed to stimulate "a flurry of activity.” Read More


Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: Seven Gaping Holes in Our Knowledge of Corporate Governance

Brian Tayan and David F. Larcker, scholars from Stanford Business School, discuss the major lapses in how corporate governance is broadly understood. Read More

Financial Times: Unilever Shareholders Reject Pay Plan in Big Blow to Incoming Chief

A scale of rejection seldom seen, close to 60% of Unilever’s shareholders voted against the compensation package of incoming chief executive Hein Schumacher, report Alistair Gray and Emma Dunkley. Read More


Institutional Investor: Investors with Radically Different ESG Views Got in a Room Together. Here’s What Happened Next.

Alicia McElhaney shares her takeaways from a Berkeley Spring Forum conference panel last week debating how shareholders and companies should engage on sustainability and other ESG-related issues. Read More

The Wall Street Journal: What Will It Take to Make Sustainability Measurable?

New research by Deloitte reveals that very few companies (only 3%) believe their sustainability data is equally accurate as the numbers listed in their financial statements, a disconnect that is largely due to a lack of SEC controls in place around ESG-related disclosures. Read More

Reuters: US Lawmakers Push SEC to Order Audit of Shein IPO Over Uyghur Forced Labor Fears

Arriana McLymore reports that the public offering of “fast-fashion” powerhouse Shein may be under threat as a bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers is imploring the SEC to halt the IPO until the company investigates claims that it uses forced labor across its supply chain. Read More


After a long week battling activists and midtown traffic last week, GPP stepped into Neal Rosenthal’s Mad Rose studio in Williamsburg last Friday night overlooking Manhattan for an amazing wine tasting with one of New York’s most iconic wine purveyors. Neal was the first person in New York to open a wine shop that only sold wine, no hard liquor, and wines only from family-owned wineries in France and Italy. His wine shop, Rosenthal Wine Merchant, has been a fixture on the Upper East Side  for more than 40 years, and he’s also an importer, so if you see Rosenthal on the back of a bottle, you know it’s good. He recently opened a cozy wine bar and restaurant on the lower West side of Manhattan called Justine’s on Hudson, named after his daughter. You will thank us for the tip. 


Also reopening post pandemic is Eli’s Table, owned by another iconic New Yorker, Eli Zabar. Eli’s has a remarkable wine list from his own cellar, another not-to-be-missed experience for those who enjoy the fermented grape. Listen to Eli’s story in Sam Benrubi’s podcast, @thegrapenation.


Also, thanks to our friend Eric Menell, J.P. Morgan’s Co-Head of North American Media Investment Banking, for stopping by GPP headquarters this week to break bread and talk shop about activism in media. 


  • Kim Posnett has been named head of global technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Read More

  • Ryan Gould has become chief U.S. correspondent at Mergermarket covering North American M&A. Read More

  • Samuel Stolton has joined Bloomberg News as reporter covering antitrust and competition. Read More

  • Herb Scribner moved from Axios to the Washington Post as a breaking news reporter. Read More
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