Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor who Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to name Secretary of the Treasury, is urging Congress to change the tax code so that companies don't have an incentive to move outside the U.S.
His latest warning followed confirmed merger talks between Pfizer Inc., the largest U.S. drugmaker, and Ireland-based Allergan Plc. The companies have a combined market value of about $320 billion, which would be a record-breaking deal for the pharmaceutical industry.
“Today Pfizer confirmed they are planning to move out of the country,” he wrote in a Twitter message. “The situation is much more dangerous than most people believe.”
Icahn, 79, also sent a letter to Congress
urging the end of so-called “tax inversions,” a way for U.S. companies to cut their tax rates by joining with a foreign company that has a lower rate.
“The imminent planned exodus of many of our best companies is extremely dangerous, especially in our fragile economy, as it will cause the loss of thousands of jobs, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars of future tax revenue and investment in the United States,” his letter said.
Icahn, whose estimated net worth is $22 billion, last week revealed plans
to put $150 million into a new super-PAC that would push for legislation to discourage tax inversions. He said the government should lower U.S. corporations’ taxes on earnings abroad, which would remove the incentive to relocate.
“The PAC we have started will leave no stone unturned to find out who is most responsible for this ridiculous and unconscionable situation,” Icahn wrote.
He endorsed a tax proposal by Senators Chuck Schumer and Rob Portman as part of a highway funding bill being debated in Congress.
Apple Inc. is Icahn’s largest holding and has billions in foreign earnings parked outside the country. Icahn has called for Apple to return more earnings to shareholders, but international tax rules stand in the way.
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