"I believe Newell itself is undervalued and that's why I bought it," the investor told CNBC's Scott Wapner on Thursday.
The investor said he believes he has among the largest positions on Wall Street in the stock, though less than a 5 percent stake. Icahn joins other activist investors including Starboard Value and Martin Franklin in their bid to reform the company. CNBC previously reported that Starboard and Franklin are teaming up to oust Newell's entire board.
"They have really, basically different views on where this company should go," Icahn said of Starboard and Franklin. "There's potential because these brands are another area in the retail business that I think will still survive and, in fact, get even more profitable."
The New York Post originally reported Icahn's stake in the company, citing multiple sources.
"While we do not comment on individual conversations with shareholders, we do appreciate Mr. Icahn's ownership and views," a spokesperson for Newell Brands told CNBC. "Newell Brands continues to take decisive action and is focused on executing its accelerated transformation plan to improve operational performance. The Company's strategic initiatives will enable Newell to emerge simpler, faster and stronger."
Icahn noted that he purchased Newell shares for roughly $25 per share, more than 6 percent below their current price of $26.62 per share. The stock is up 4 percent Thursday.
Newell produces a variety of consumer and commercial goods from power tools to child car seats. The industrial conglomerate operates under many brands including Sharpie, Paper Mate, Mr. Coffee and Coleman.