In Southwest Florida, private-equity investor Carl Icahn is best remembered for his ruthless battle to control Bonita Springs-based developer and homebuilder WCI Communities in the late 2000s.
Now, Icahn is back and he's targeting today's regional corporate darling: Hertz. The rental-car giant is in the process of moving its global corporate headquarters to Lee County from New Jersey.
On Dec. 30, Hertz' board adopted a poison pill strategy to prevent a takeover of the company by activist investors accumulating shares in the open market. It didn't cite any specific threat, but subsequently CNBC and the Wall Street Journal quoted anonymous sources reporting Icahn has acquired a stake in Hertz.
It's not clear what Icahn's intentions are yet and whether a shareholder battle might affect the company's relocation to Southwest Florida, but Hertz says it hired investment bankers at Merrill Lynch and corporate lawyers at Cravath, Swaine & Moore to fend off any unwelcome activist investors.