October 31, 2012, 5:17 PM

Billionaire Carl Icahn buys 10% of Netflix

Icahn suggests a bigger company may want to buy Netflix.

Lead Photo

When a company’s shares fall 60% it becomes prey for big investors. That’s what appears to be happening to Netflix Inc., the online provider of movies and TV shows via streaming video and compact discs.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed today he has acquired roughly 10% of the stock in Netflix and may be looking to push the company to sell itself to a larger company that would pay more than the current stock market value for its assets. Icahn mentioned Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Verizon as possible buyers in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “There are so many possible combinations,” Icahn said.

Icahn said in his filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that he believes shares in Netflix are undervalued. “Netflix may hold significant strategic value for a variety of significantly larger companies that are engaging in more direct competition with one another due to the evolution of the internet, mobile, and traditional industry,” the filing said.

Netflix, No. 9 the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide declined to comment.

The price of Netflix shares rose 36% to $89.45 on the news. However, the shares remain far off their year-end 2010 close of $175.70. Netflix has been spending heavily to secure movies and TV shows for its streaming TV service, and paid heavily in subscriber defections for a botched attempt to reprice its services last year.

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