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Icahn woos Oshkosh shareholders, company pushes back

Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007. RE
Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007. RE

(Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn urged shareholders of Oshkosh Corp on Thursday to accept his $32.50-per-share bid for any and all outstanding shares of the company before the offer expires on Monday.

Oshkosh responded by urging shareholders to ignore the bid, which it called "inadequate and opportunistic."

Icahn in October made his latest bid for Oshkosh, which represented a 21 percent premium on the share price prior to his offer. Early this year he waged an unsuccessful proxy battle against the company.

Oshkosh shares were down 2 percent at $30.78 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. They have risen 14.6 percent since Icahn made his offer.

Icahn said that if 25 percent of shareholders accept his offer, which values the company at about $2.98 billion, he will proceed with another attempt to have a slate of outside directors elected to the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based company's board.

If he fails to generate that level of support, he said, "we will respect the shareholders' wishes, drop our tender offer and proxy fight and move on to other endeavors."

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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