US operator JetBlue Airways has disclosed that entrepreneur Carl Icahn has picked up a 9.91% shareholding in the budget carrier.

Icahn has held interests in a diverse range of companies and sectors, but is known in the air transport industry for his controversial acquisition of former US major carrier TWA in the mid-1980s.

JetBlue states that various entities and funds linked to Icahn have been buying up blocks of shares since the end of January.

In a US securities exchange filing it adds that the buyer has been acquiring the shares “in the belief that they were undervalued and represented an attractive investment opportunity”.

The investors have held discussions over the possibility of board representation, it states.

JetBlue-c-Ole Simon Creative Commons

Source: Ole Simon/Creative Commons

JetBlue recently had a tie-up with Spirit Airlines blocked by regulators

JetBlue’s filing says the various Icahn entities hold 33.6 million shares of common stock, as of 12 February, representing about 9.91% of the airline’s overall share capital.

Shares in JetBlue – which recently had its merger plan with US low-fare carrier Spirit Airlines blocked – have risen over 20% since 9 February.