NEW YORK — Financier Carl C. Icahn stoked the smoldering takeover speculation about Texaco Inc. on Tuesday, disclosing that he had raised his stake in the nation's third-largest oil company to 15.8%.
Securities analysts said Icahn's move, which helped boost Texaco's stock price, evidently reflected his impatience at the pace of the company's post-bankruptcy restructuring aimed at increasing the value of Texaco stock.
Some said Icahn, Texaco's largest shareholder, probably had no interest in acquiring the company himself but might be attempting to induce another investor to make an offer.
"I think ultimately he's looking for a way to cash in," said George Gaspar, who follows Texaco for the Milwaukee-based investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co. "I think he's trying to stir up the pond and attract some outside interest to take a look at Texaco."
Others did not rule out the possibility of a takeover attempt by Icahn, who began acquiring Texaco stock while the company was under federal bankruptcy court protection a year ago.
Texaco stock rose 87.5 cents a share to close at $51.625 in heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange, an indication that investors believe either Icahn or someone else may try to win control of the company.
Last spring, Icahn made an offer for Texaco valued at $14.5 billion, or $60 a share, as part of a shareholder proxy fight to oust the company's board. But his strategy was defeated by shareholders loyal to the board, which promised to boost Texaco's stock price through an aggressive restructuring.
But since then, Texaco stock has not risen significantly, raising the possibility that more shareholders would align themselves with Icahn if he undertook another takeover attempt.