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Icahn abandons effort to take control of Oshkosh

Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007. RE
Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007. RE

(Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn on Tuesday abandoned his effort to acquire control of U.S. truck and military vehicle maker Oshkosh Corp after shareholders tendered fewer shares than he had hoped for.

Only 22 percent of shares were tendered in his $32.50 per share offer, less than the 25 percent threshold Icahn had sought. Icahn, who remains Oshkosh's largest shareholder with a 9.5 percent stake, had said that many shares would have improved his chances of overhauling the board of the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based company.

Oshkosh shares were down 4.3 percent at $28.80 early Tuesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

"We are returning all tendered shares and we will not extend the offer," said Icahn, whose offer valued Oshkosh at $2.98 billion and represented a 21 percent premium on the share price prior to his October bid.

Oshkosh had previously dismissed Icahn's offer as inadequate and in November the company's board authorized management to buy back up to 11 million shares, which would represent 12 percent of the company's outstanding stock, up from a prior authorization to buy back 7.2 million shares.

Company representatives on Tuesday declined to comment on Icahn's latest move.

Icahn had argued that Oshkosh should spin off its JLG aerial lift unit, which the company acquired in 2006 for $3 billion, as a standalone company.

This was Icahn's second run at Oshkosh; a year earlier he waged an unsuccessful proxy battle, with shareholders rejecting his slate of directors.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Matthew Lewis)

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