Icahn Calling: The Ring Every CEO Fears

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Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Hain Celestial Chairman, Founder and CEO Irwin Simon discusses his dealings with billionaire investor Carl Icahn on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

We were moving our headquarters.

My assistant called and said carl icahn is on the phone.

I thought somebody was playing a joke because we were expanding.

I said put them on.

There was carl in his deep new york voice.

Hi, this is carl icahn.

How nice of them to give you a heads up.

He was lovely.

He said he thought we were doing a great job.

I said, we put that in a 13 d the you are filing.

He said that many people asked me that.

He said let me check with my lawyers.

He always uses his lawyers as an excuse.

He did put it in his filing that he wanted to work with management at the time.

In your situation, he really did believe in what you guys were doing.

He went long in this position.

He was there for three and a half years.

It wasn't as if it was a wake in and out.

Carl came at a time when our stock was undervalued.

He also -- he was used to buying companies like time warner and big position to big companies.

We were a small-cap company.

We were starting a fund at that time.

That was our first real investment.

Some he had a baby and they were at whole foods and they saw our company.

I got together with carl, we wanted to get into a proxy fight with him.

That was not my mo.

If you bought seven a half million shares and he wanted a board seat, we negotiated an agreement.

I've seen companies spend millions of dollars in a proxy fight, it is not good for the employees.

You played ball with him, that is what is interesting.

Not every ceo wants to do that.

We are now in a situation where tim cook is getting that call.

Tim cook is going to carl icon's house for dinner.

How do you deal with an activist?

Tim cook understands running apple butter than anybody else.

I'm a big fan of 10 cook -- tim cook and what he is an apple.

Carl has made half a billion dollars on apple.

He is that ok.

At the end of the day, carl is one ship owner of many at apple.

I would listen to him.

He has made a lot of money this year.

Look at what he is done with netflix and other companies.

He has great ideas.

On the other hand, tim needs to look at growth.

Here is the difference, apple is a little bigger.

Carl could push me out.

I don't just mean the he could push you around or he has more clout.

You look at the growth opportunity, to me it is a curious choice.

You look at something that is an opportunity to turn things around and is undervalued.

You look at apple, which is much more mature.

It is just an interesting choice to me.

Here is what you do.

Tim cook avoid carl icahn and move on it is thing.

It is the noise that carl puts behind it.

It is a distraction.

How do you curtail carl and how do you have a win-win situation.

Did you find a distraction?

I kept everybody out of it.

There were times when carl said i wanted to sell this company.

At the end of the day, carl is an investor.

He cares about the stock going up.

Performance is important, at the end of the day i was able to show carl that i could build shareholder value and get to $100 a share.

To his credit, it was not about offering $40 a share.

What he wanted to sell?

That is an off-line escutcheon, non-online discussion.

But, he wanted to sell.

The good news is i did not listen to them.

It is appeasement but standing up to him.

I think these companies get into proxy fights and you invest money and other things that are a distraction.

You look at other companies where it is going on.

A company today, it is hard to grow these companies and be focusing on activists and fights . look at what is going on with herbalife.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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