Icahn seeks spot on Motorola board

Cell phone maker reveals bid by financier to win spot; discloses a 1.3% stake.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Motorola, the nation's largest cell phone maker, announced Tuesday that financier Carl Icahn is seeking a position on its board of directors.

Shares of Motorola (up $1.16 to $19.47, Charts) rose 6.2 percent in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Carl Icahn.
Carl Icahn.

The company said the notice it received from Icahn said that he owns about 33.5 million shares of the company, or about 1.3 percent of its shares outstanding.

Motorola said it had no additional information on Icahn's intentions and it was reviewing the notice. Motorola has not set a date for its 2007 shareholders meeting.

Icahn is famous for pressuring management for changes at companies in which he invests, with some mixed results. Last October he gained control of biotech ImClone Systems (up $0.76 to $30.01, Charts) after a bitter fight with the company's board.

But he had to drop efforts to gain control of media conglomerate Time Warner (up $0.27 to $22.05, Charts), the owner of CNNMoney.com, and have the company split into separate units, after failing to win support from other major shareholders.

Motorola has seen its shares slide 30 percent since mid-October, as it gave earnings outlook far below forecasts, sparking concerns about a price war in the cell phone handset industry. Some industry critics have suggested it hasn't done enough to refresh its product line. It announced plans earlier this month to cut 3,500 jobs in the first half of this year to trim costs.

Its shares have badly trailed competitors Nokia (up $0.41 to $21.81, Charts), the world's largest cell phone maker, and Ericcson (up $0.00 to $39.86, Charts). Nokia shares are up 6 percent over the period of Motorola's 30 percent slide, while Ericsson shares are up 7 percent.


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