Carl Icahn has told CVR Energy that he intends to make a hostile bid for the company worth at least $2.6bn, days after the billionaire investor urged management to put the US refiner up for sale.

Shares in the group closed 5.8 per cent higher on Thursday at $29.20 per share, just below the $30 offer proposed by Mr Icahn, who is the largest shareholder in the group with a 14.5 per cent stake. He has also proposed to give shareholders who accept his offer an additional $7 per share if another bidder emerges.

Mr Icahn has not yet commenced a formal tender offer. Last year, the veteran corporate raider proposed to buy bleach maker Clorox and steel company Commercial Metals, but in both cases withdrew after failing to secure shareholder support or flush out other buyers.

He also plans to nominate nine candidates to CVR’s board in order to nullify a poison pill takeover defence put in place by the company last month.

In a statement, the company said that it would “review all of Mr Icahn’s actions and respond as appropriate in due course”. Mr Icahn did not respond to requests for comment.

The US refining market has been hit in recent months by overcapacity and sluggish demand for fuel. CVR owns refineries in Coffeyville, Kansas, and Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

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