Volkswagen has been locked in a staring contest with Carl Icahn — and the billionaire is blinking.
Navistar — the maker of the International brand of big-rig trucks whose big shareholders include Icahn and his former protégé Mark Rachesky — reached a deal in principle Friday to sell itself to Volkswagen’s truck-making subsidiary Traton for $44.50 a share, which values the company at about $3.7 billion.
That’s up slightly from the $43 a share that Traton offered last month after it sweetened an earlier bid for $35 a share. But the $44.50-a-share offer is well short of the $50 a share that Icahn wanted, according to sources close to the talks. Rachesky, as The Post has previously reported, had once been seeking significantly more.
The haggling came to a head this week when Traton sent a letter to Navistar saying its $43-a-share offer represented its “best and final.”
Traton, a large Navistar investor that controls two board seats, said it would walk off the lot at 6 p.m. Friday unless Navistar agreed in writing to proceed with a deal at that price.
Traton’s hard-knuckle announcement sent Navistar’s shares tumbling 20 percent on Wednesday, bringing Icahn and Rachesky to their knees.
Navistar and Traton on Friday said Traton will buy the Navistar stock it doesn’t already own for $44.50 a share, subject to due diligence and final approval from both the board and shareholders. Navistar’s shares closed up 22.8 percent, or $8.10 a share, to $43.52.
The handshake agreement ends four years of