Carl Icahn

The end of industrial conglomerates

Illustration of measuring tape wrapped around a briefcase
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

United Technologies, which announced last week it will split into three separate public companies, is joining the ranks of industrial giants that have decided bigger is not always better.

Between the lines: Industrial conglomerates were formed in the post-WWII era after an antitrust crackdown made it challenging for companies to buy rivals or acquire businesses within their own supply chains. But by the 1990s most began slimming down, and the best-known remaining industrial conglomerates are now determined to shrink (General Electric) or shake off the conglomerate label (3M).

Carl Icahn to actively oppose Dell's plan to return to public markets

Carl Icahn sitting in a chair smiling on stage at an event
Carl Icahn. Photo: Heidi Gutman/CNBC, NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Carl Icahn, the activist investor, disclosed an 8.3% stake in a tracking stock for Dell Technologies' position in VMWare yesterday, and said he will actively oppose Dell's plan to return to the public markets via a $22 billion reverse merger with that tracking stock. Per Icahn's letter:

Why it matters: If this sounds familiar, it's because Icahn tried preventing Dell from going private back in 2013, arguing that Michael Dell and private equity sponsor Silver Lake were undervaluing the company.

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