#3 CVR Energy
Ticker: CVI
YTD stock performance: 142%
Market cap: $4.1 billion
Fortune 500 rank: 477

Shares of CVR Energy (CVI, Fortune 500) have soared to record highs this year as billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn made the company his biggest holding, not counting Icahn Enterprises (IEP, Fortune 500), of course.

In January, Icahn picked up a 14.5% percent stake in CVR, saying shares were undervalued. In May, Icahn boosted his stake to about 80%, and a month later, he was named chairman of the oil refiner's board.

Icahn went on a mission to sell the company and named Valero (VLO, Fortune 500), Western Refining (WNR, Fortune 500), HollyFrontier (HFC, Fortune 500), Tesoro (TSO, Fortune 500), Marathon Petroleum (MPC, Fortune 500) and ConocoPhilips (COP, Fortune 500) as possible buyers.

After failing to receive any credible offers, Icahn offered to take the company private in early August. Two weeks later, the billionaire withdrew his offer, citing market conditions. But Icahn remains the company's largest investor.

Meanwhile, CVR has also delivered strong earnings, topping expectations each quarter this year. During the most recent quarter, CVR posted a profit of $209 million, nearly double from a year earlier, as sales surged almost 80%.

Source: CNNMoney
Data as of Dec. 7 market close, provided by S&P Capital IQ.
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 19 2012 02:52 PM ET
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