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Exclusive: Icahn On Motorola & More

Saturday, 2 Feb 2008 | 5:05 PM ET

Motorola said on Thursday it is considering separating its loss-making mobile phone unit, in an apparent concession to demands from activist investor Carl Icahn, sending its shares up 12.7 percent.

The world's third-largest mobile phone maker, which has been losing market share to Nokia and Samsung Electronics, said it was looking at a "structural and strategic realignment" to help it recapture market share and enhance shareholder value.

Carl Icahn joins the panel for this exclusive interview. Following is a synopsis of his main points.

Icahn on Motorola
Legendary investor Carl Icahn details his battle for Motorola break-up, with the Fast Money crew.

“We believe that the company should be split,” says Icahn. “Get the hand held business away from the rest of the company because you need good management in it. The hand held business, as I’ve said before, is a great business, but it’s a very arcane business. You need a top person to run that. And that top person has to be brought in.”

Anyone in mind?

“I’m not going to get into that,” Icahn replies. “But we’ve put a slate together and hopefully this time they will listen. I think they’re going in the right direction, now.”

There’s speculation Dell could be a buyer?

"I don’t know about that," replies Icahn. “And I’m not saying whether it should be sold or not sold. That all depends on the price and the deal. That’s something that’s way off and I have no knowledge of that. I think it should be spun-off into a separate company and then see what happens. It’s a great company. (But) a company like this could melt away if they don’t do something very soon.”

For you something is a new CEO?

“Let me make that clear,” replies Icahn, “a new CEO for the handheld business. You need to get the right guy and the right guy isn’t going to want to report to the management there now.”

How about the speculation that you’ve taken a major stake in JC Penney?

“We don’t comment on speculation and rumors,” Icahn says. “I have no comment.”

What has attracted your interest to the retailers in general?

“I think when nobody wants them – you buy them,” Icahn says. “But this isn’t a comment on JC Penney .”

Where do you stand with Biogen?

“We think Biogen is better off sold,” answer Icahn. “I think a lot of these biotechs have to merge with Big Pharma. This is one of them.”

What are your thoughts for investors trying to navigate this market?

“We still have a lot of problems that have to be really dealt with,” Icahn replies. “And many of the problems stem from the fact that managements are sadly lacking.”

Read more:

> Motorola Shares Up As It Mulls Cell Phone Split-Off

> Motorola Hangs Up On Handsets

> Motorola May Realign to Boost Cell Phone Business

> Icahn Builds Big Stake in J.C. Penney: Report

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Trader disclosure: On Feb.1, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (INTC), (YHOO); Najarian Owns (BIIB), (C), (CSCO), (MCD), (MS), (MSFT), (XLF), (YHOO); Najarian Owns (AAPL) Calls, (GOOG) Calls; Finerman Owns (GS), (M); Finerman's Firm Owns (NMX), (PZN), (RTP), (SUN), (VLO), (YHOO), (TSO), (WMT), (JCP), (SKS); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (CROX), (FLS), (HD); Finerman's Firm Is Short (LEH) And Owns (LEH) Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (CME); Seymour Owns (AAPL), (CSCO), (INTC), (MSFT), (S), (MER), (MBI), (GAF); Seygem Asset Management Owns (CX), (ABV), (FMX)

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