Volkswagen nearing a deal with Carl Icahn to buy trucking giant Navistar – New York Post

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