Carl Ichan & Blackstone Are Affiliates of FirstEnergy

By Tyson Slocum

Today at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Citizen teamed up with Citizens Utility Board of Ohio to ask FERC to rule that Carl Icahn and Blackstone are affiliates of FirstEnergy Corp.

The Commission’s October 20, 2022 Order on Notice of Change In Status re Evergy Kansas Central, Inc. et al determined that a hedge fund that owns less than 10% of the utility’s voting shares is deemed affiliated with the utility because the “investor’s own officer or director” serves on the utility’s board of directors.[1]

As has been demonstrated exhaustively in these and other proceedings, both Blackstone and affiliates of Carl Icahn each control less than 10% of FirstEnergy’s voting shares but have their own officers on the utility’s board of directors.

The voting status of Carl Icahn’s two officers on FirstEnergy’s board of directors is immaterial to the Commission determining that Carl Icahn and his affiliates must be deemed to be affiliated with FirstEnergy. As the Commission concluded in Evergy, “Board membership confers rights, privileges, and access to non-public information, including information on commercial strategy and operations.”[2] These rights convey to Carl Icahn’s officers regardless of whether they are currently able to vote or not. In fact, regardless of whether Icahn’s two officers on FirstEnergy’s board of directors having voting authority yet, they are active participants in all board actions―including the active search by the board for a new CEO.[3] As has been reported: “For billionaire investor Carl Icahn, 4 percent of a company isn’t just a sizable stake. It’s a sledge hammer and a crowbar, combined.”[4]

In light of Blackstone and Carl Icahn officers playing an active role in selecting FirstEnergy’s next CEO, we request expedited action for the Commission to determine that both Blackstone and Carl Icahn and his affiliates are affiliated with FirstEnergy Corp.

Read the two-page filing here: FirstEnergyAnswer

[1] At 44 and 45, 181 FERC ¶ 61,044, Docket Nos. ER20-67-001, ER20-113-001 and ER20-116-001, https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/filelist?accession_num=20221020-3091

[2] At 45.

[3] www.firstenergycorp.com/newsroom/news_articles/fe-announces-ceo-transition.html

[4] Brandon Bailey and Elise Ackerman, “Canny and ruthless, Icahn lives to win,” The Mercury News, May 24, 2008, www.mercurynews.com/2008/05/24/canny-and-ruthless-icahn-lives-to-win/