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Billionaire investor Carl Icahn more than doubled his stake in Genzyme Corp. (GENZ) and reported an initial investment in Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) as of March 31, according to regulatory filings.
Icahn, known as a corporate activist who holds his shares through various funds, also continued to shed his stake in Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) and reported no holdings in CIT Group Inc. (CIT). Many of his large holdings--such as Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) and Federal-Mogul Corp. (FDML)--remained unchanged in the quarter.
His increased stake in Genzyme, up 13.1 million at the end of the quarter from 4.8 million at the end of 2009, comes as Icahn has nominated himself and three others to the company's board in a bitter proxy battle that will be decided at a June 16 shareholder meeting. The biotechnology company has been plagued by regulatory and production issues mostly stemming from repeated problems at its main plant. Its stock dropped 26% in 2009.
In buying a stake in natural gas company Chesapeake Energy, Icahn may be making a bet on the price of the commodity, which rose over the winter due to cold-weather related demand for heating, but has since dropped amid moderate spring temperatures and increased supply.
Icahn wasn't immediately available for comment on the filings.
He has been trimming his Yahoo stake since last year and again sold shares in the first quarter. His holdings stood at 4 million shares at the end of March, down from 12 million at Dec. 31. In the fall, he resigned from Yahoo's board, saying he didn't believe it was necessary to have an activist on the board.
Icahn reported no stake in CIT Group, down from 12.1 million shares at Dec. 31. Last year, he bought debt in the commercial lender and pushed for changes to its board as it went through bankruptcy. When CIT emerged, Icahn was one of the largest shareholders of the company.
Monday's disclosures don't include a complete picture of Icahn's holdings because he has been permitted to keep some of his investments confidential.
Prominent investors are sometimes permitted to temporarily withhold information from their quarterly reports if the disclosure would interfere with an investment strategy.
Some of the holdings reported on Icahn's 13-F are outdated, because he often buys more than 5% of companies' outstanding shares, forcing him to make more frequent filings regarding those holdings. Since the quarter ended, Icahn reported a nearly 12% stake in food company Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN) and sharply increased his stake in Motorola Inc. (MOT), which is preparing to split itself in two.
He has been buying shares of videogame maker Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) and owns about 11.8 million shares, or about a 14% stake, as of the beginning of April. Icahn hasn't made his intentions clear, although there has been speculation that Icahn will push the company to sell itself.
He also sold much of his stake in Blockbuster Inc. (BBI, BBIB) during the quarter and continued to do so in early April, when he owned 71,749 of the class A shares.
Many investors that manage more than $100 million are required to file 13-Fs with their stock holdings 45 days after the end of a given quarter, giving the public its freshest possible glimpse into the portfolios of well-known money managers. Most hedge-fund managers and others wait until the last possible moment to make these filings.
-By Thomas Gryta, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2169; firstname.lastname@example.org