May 9, 2014 / 7:56 PM / 3 years ago

Icahn 2.0: billionaire's son to launch his own hedge fund

BOSTON, May 9 (Reuters) - Like father, like son.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn's son, Brett, intends to launch a new hedge fund that will focus on selecting stocks and employing the kind of activist strategies that turned the senior Icahn into one the world's most successful money managers, according to two sources familiar with the plan.

The father and son duo have been laying the groundwork for months and Carl Icahn recently mentioned it quietly to some deep-pocketed friends who may want to commit cash, said the sources, who were prohibited from discussing the plan publicly.

"Carl has been talking to people that they are going to do this. The fund will have an activist bent like what Carl does," said one of the sources.

The fund is expected to be launched in the fall but there are no further details yet. News of the plan was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Icahn did not return a call for comment.

While raising money for a new hedge fund may be harder than ever with institutional investors requiring lengthy track records and novel ideas, having the Icahn DNA could make the new portfolio a hot product very quickly, investors said.

With a net worth of $23.2 billion, 78-year-old Carl Icahn ranks as one of the industry's best activist investors.

But after shutting down his hedge fund three years ago, Icahn is now working on creating the next generation of investors who push for change at corporations. "I'm going to go seed the guys who are going to be activists," Icahn said at an industry conference two weeks ago.

At 34, Brett Icahn has worked for his father as an analyst for more than a decade and was given roughly $3 billion of his father's money to invest with a partner two years ago. Brett Icahn's average annual returns are in the double-digits, a person familiar with the fund said.

The new portfolio will be launched at a time when investor interest in activist oriented funds, like ones run by William Ackman, Barry Rosenstein and Daniel Loeb, is picking up. Last year activist funds returned 16 percent while the average fund gained only 9 percent.

Big name pension funds, including the state pension fund of New Jersey, plus other powerhouse investors like Blackstone Group have all put money with activists. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Tom Brown)

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