This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
On the eve of the bull market's second anniversary, billionaire investor Carl Icahn had an unsettling message for his investors: Take your money back.
Icahn told those in his hedge funds he didn't want to be responsible to them for "another possible market crisis," especially given the rapid increases over the past two years..
Icahn, who has built a fortune from taking stakes in well-known companies and then pressing for changes, also said he was concerned about the economic outlook and political tensions in the Middle East. Icahn's targets over the years have included Yahoo Inc., RJR Nabisco and Revlon.
"While we are not forecasting renewed market dislocation, this possibility cannot be dismissed," Icahn said in a letter to his limited partners. The letter was dated Monday and disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday.
Outside investors make up just 25 percent, or $1.76 billion, of the $7 billion in assets Icahn oversees. Despite losses in 2008, the funds have had returns of 106.9 percent since their inception in 2004. In the first two months of the year the funds have returned 8.7 percent.
Not everyone believes Icahn is returning his investors' money because he's bearish about the markets.
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, said Icahn probably is trying to avoid regulatory scrutiny. Under new laws, hedge funds have to register with the SEC and allow the agency to inspect them.
"Why submit yourself to regulatory scrutiny when you don't have to?" he asked. "But I think if he had spelled it out that way, it wouldn't have gone over too well."