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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Carl Icahn defends Ackman, slams Lipton

Icahn on Lipton, Ackman

Maybe it was the martini that helped Carl Icahn publicly support longtime nemesis Bill Ackman.

"I never thought I'd be defending him, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that," Icahn said of the Pershing Square Capital Management founder's bid for Allergan with Valeant during a CNBC interview Tuesday night at the IMN Active-Passive Investor Summit in New York.

"We have our differences, but I never said he's not a smart guy. I think the concept of this is good. I hope it works out better for him than Herbalife did, and I think it will," Icahn added shortly after taking sips from a martini passed to him while on camera. "There's nothing wrong with making a bid for a company and using someone else's funds."

Icahn added he would consider teaming up with a company to make a hostile bid for another, like Ackman. "Any activism is good as long as it's legal," the billionaire chairman of Icahn Enterprises said.