resorts and timeshares

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold! The Aruban Resort sold at auction

Aruban Resort Titles
The Aruba almost two years ago

On May 6th 2010, a public auction was held on behalf of Icahn Partners as a stock holder for The Aruban Resort property. The same Icahn Partners acquired the property for the sum of $20 million. They were the only party to bid on this property.

Before the auction could take place there was a lawsuit filed by the The Aruban Resort Timeshare Association about the 15.000 unsold timeshare weeks they thought they owned. The judge’s ruling was that the 15.000 weeks were to be included in the auction.

Auction details

  1. Starting bid was $15.247.191,00
  2. This amount included taxes for $3.477.042,95
  3. Notary costs was $242.532,02
  4. Other specified costs were $7.964,05
  5. Other not-specified costs were $11.519.651,98 [layoff fund, bank loans, government guarantees, water company, power company etc.]

Icahn Partners paid almost a $5 million dollars premium to acquire this property. Why did they do that? Didn’t they know that they were the only party there? Yes they did. Even though there were other present at the auction, no bidder had the money to surpass Icahn’s bid. The primary rule set by the notary public was that the bidding was open to anyone, as long as you can back up your bidding by a bank guarantee. Only Icahn could at $20 million.

Another question. If Icahn was already a shareholder, why didn’t they acquired the shares from the other shareholders? To keep it short and simple [I could do otherwise] the answer is relatively simple. Start fresh, from zero, don’t owe anyone anything, 100% ownership, zero employees, good debt position, fresh equity etc.

Who’s Icahn Partners?

Icahn Partners is the investment fund owned by cowboy investor Carl Icahn. He’s a high profile investors and isn’t afraid to bulldoze others to get his way. He is a share holder’s dream. Wherever he comes in, the value of the investment object goes up.

The most high profile beef Icahn had to date in my opinion was with Yahoo! founder and CEO Mr Jerry Yang. Mr Icahn wanted Yahoo! to be acquired by Microsoft but Yahoo! CEO Yang refused. After a long battle at the end Microsoft didn’t acquire Yahoo!, however, Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo! search engines now work together. What about Mr Yang? He was ousted.

Icahn Partners is not a hotel operator, it’s an investment company Icahn Enterprises L.P. trading on New York Stock Exchange Dow Jones. Closing price for the share today was $37,38, with 81 million shares outstanding. Market cap is over $3 billion. Just as a comparison, Yahoo!’s market cap is over $21 billion. Last quarter Icahn Enterprises had a revenue of $1.9 billion and cash assets of $2.5 billion.

Future of The Aruban

I would like to make very clear to everyone, have no doubt in your mind that Icahn is not keeping this resort a day longer it has to. As soon it’s ready it will be sold [probably quietly] it will. The price paid to acquire The Aruban is laughable. In Aruba there’s availability of land for sale in Eagle Beach starting at almost $10 million. This massive project for $20 million is peanuts. Quick comparison, the fiscal value of this property is $43 million. has very important information.

Icahn announced it will upgrade the resort [high-end?] and finish the casino to become one of the most spectacular in the Caribbean. I reckon that The Aruban Resort needs somewhere between $40 to$60 million to finish the renovations and expansion. Keep in mind that Icahn also owns the 15.000 weeks timeshare, this is a potential goldmine. Quick math: for sake of argument let’s say you fix up the place and sell each timeshare week for average $10.000. This can bring in a potential of $150 million. I know, to sell out a timeshare resort takes more than a decade. I don’t think Icahn Partners is going to be here for so long.

Wrapping up

I could go on and on about this property, but I won’t. In closing, this auction was rare occurrence in Aruba to say the least. I truly hope now that with the new owner this resort’s problems can be resolved. Icahn certainly has the cash or access to loans to finish this property. Also it’s indicative of these investors to acquire such properties during times of economic down turn, to later sell it with a huge profit during a bullish economy.


The Minister of Tourism said to be very satisfied on the turnout of the whole process and hopes the laid off workers could be welcomed back soon. I must admit, the Minister stuck his neck out and offered a highly controversial guarantee in order for this resort to reopen. They also took care the issues The Aruban had with the local water and power company.

By Gabriel

Informing travelers about Aruba since 2007, and trying to provide value to Aruba visitors.

6 replies on “Going Once, Going Twice, Sold! The Aruban Resort sold at auction”

I am certainly relieved to know that Carl Icahn and his group have purchased The Aruban Resort. I have been a time share owner of 4 weeks for some 15 years. My family and I love Aruba and have spent many delightful weeks at the resort. I paid an assessment of $5,580 on January 19, 2009 for renovation. I would like hear any pronouncments the Icahn Group may have on that matter.

Thank you,

Richard W. Lee
Cali, Colombia

I asked for a week in Aruba in January, and was surprised when Intervale sent my confirmation, 1 week at the ARUBAN. I have been to La Cabana previously. I am concerned about the conditions at the Aruban! My wife has lung problems, and I don’t want to bring her into a hazardous situation. How can I find out how things are in this resort?
thank you for your kind attention.

I understand your concern Ray. Also, I understand why Interval sent you a confirmation. The Aruban is in business and is receiving guests. As to what the condition is at resort is difficult for me to judge. I suggest you visit a couple of forums such as the one at or that tend have recent comments on things just that. Thanks for your comment.

What about the $5,580 paid on January 19, 2009 for renovation?
Nobody has given me an answer concerning this payment and what, if anything, will be done by the new owners? Am I to be considered in partnership with Carl Icahn in the renovation of The Aruban Resort? Will I share in the profit when the renovated resort is sold by Icahn?

Bear in mind I’m not a lawyer but I reckon that Icahn Partners don’t owe you as this project was purchased by Icahn after the bankruptcy (November 2009) at a public auction (May 2010) for $20 million. I think your claim falls directly with other claims in the bankrupts assets. Take note that the first claimers of the bankruptcy are the Tax Collectors Office, banks and the rest if there’s money left (of the $20 million). As such Icahn has nothing to do with previous owners other than to respect the ownership of their timeshare property. Sorry to be the bearer of (potentially) bad news. Thanks for commenting though.

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