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Icahn steps up battle with Moto

The billionaire corporate raider, Carl Icahn, stepped up his campaign to get a seat on the Motorola board Monday by increasing his stake in the company and initiating a proxy fight after demanding the firm give more return on its cash to investors.

Last week Motorola advised its shareholders that it would not endorse his nomination to the board.

Despite Motorola’s obvious aversion to Icahn’s nomination, he urged shareholders in the world’s second largest mobile company, to elect him.

Icahn and his affiliates own 2.5 per cent of Motorola stock – up from his 1.6 per cent stake in January – submitted proxy materials for the company’s annual shareholder meeting, due May 7.

The proxy statement reads: ‘Mr. Icahn urges stockholders to vote for him and thereby join him in his effort to add to the board an individual selected outside of the nomination process, under which all board members are nominated by existing Motorola directors.’

Motorola said it would review the statement.

Icahn has a reputation for getting his own way and it is widely believed that this latest move could force Motorola to use its $11.3bn (£5.85bn) in cash to repurchase shares. He made his name in the mid-eightees for his aggressive business style which included his takeover of TWA in 1985. He is a director of Blockbuster and has tried, unsuccessfully, to take over Marvel Comics. He also recently failed to force a breakup of Time Warner, the world’s largest media company.

Last month Icahn said he would buy around $2bn of Motorola stock and is thought to own around 59.4 million Motorola shares. He is believed to be Motorola’s eighth-biggest shareholder.

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