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Icahn's Latest Takeover: Next Door


Up Front

ICAHN'S LATEST TAKEOVER: NEXT DOOR

American Express' deluxe penthouse condo atop Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art is the stuff of dreams: 5,000 square feet, marble bathrooms, teak floors, servants galore. AmEx bought it in 1986 so then-CEO James Robinson, who lives on a Connecticut estate, had a weekday pied-a-terre and a spot for official entertaining.

Although Robinson paid the company rent--$157,000 in 1992--it didn't begin to cover costs. AmEx shelled out $3.6 million to buy the condo, plus $1 million in improvements and $200,000-plus in yearly operating costs. After Robinson's ouster in early 1993, the place languished unsold in New York's blah real estate market. AmEx steadily dropped its $5.5 million asking price.

Well, now there's a buyer. Financier Carl Icahn, who owns an adjoining penthouse, has agreed to pick it up for a bargain $3.2 million. A person close to Icahn says he likes Robinson's Hudson River view--and may join the two apartments or sell his old one. Neither would comment. AmEx would only confirm that it had found a buyer.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT AND JULIE TILSNER


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