Don’t Blindly Follow Carl Icahn (or anyone else for that matter)

From the Associated Press:

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — Shareholders of WCI Communities Inc. elected billionaire Carl Icahn to the board of the struggling homebuilder on Thursday, more than four months after management rejected his $22-per-share takeover bid. Icahn and WCI clashed for weeks over Icahn’s proposed takeover and control of the board, each urging shareholders to support their candidates, before settling recently on the compromise approved Thursday. WCI nominated three of its candidates, plus Icahn and two of his candidates. Three additional directors were nominated jointly by WCI and Icahn. Icahn companies control more than 14.5 percent of WCI.

That’s right, Icahn wanted to buy WCI for $22 per share. The stock currently trades at $9. That boneheaded bid lands him a board seat because of his 15% stake in the company. But hey, if I was a shareholder and he bid $22, I’d vote him on the board too.

Seriously though, I bring this up because many investors blindly buy stocks that billionaires like Icahn and Buffett get involved with. Although they make a lot of money, they are human too, so they make mistakes just like the rest of us. As a result, do your homework even if you want to follow a great investor into an investment. If your research yields a strong reason to buy (which would likely not have been the case with WCI) then at least you have less of a chance of making a mistake.

Full Disclosure: No position in WCI