Investor Carl Icahn says LBO boom has "peaked" Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:19pm ET18 UPDATE 1-Investor Carl Icahn says LBO boom has "peaked" Investor Carl Icahn says LBO boom has "peaked" NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - Billionaire financier Carl Icahn on Wednesday told an investor audience that the spate of recent leveraged buyouts has "peaked" because shareholders are balking at selling their companies too cheaply and deal financing is getting more expensive. The 71-year-old financier, who has built up an estimated net worth of $13 billion by buying and selling companies over 25 years, predicted that LBO firms won't be able to win shareholder approval for deals as easily as in recent years. "They've had a walk in the park for years, but now shareholders are waking up to the fact that we're not going to sell it to you so cheap," Icahn told a "Deals and Dealmakers" conference sponsored by Dow Jones, referring to LBO firms that take companies private. "And interest rates could start creeping up." Icahn, who is known for pressuring companies for strategic and management changes, said "I think it's peaked," referring to the private equity boom. "When I say peaked, I don't mean they won't make money," he noted. "You've got some real smart guys running private equity firms." Icahn's comments came as Lear Corp. (LEA.N: Quote, Profile , Research) shareholders are opposing his efforts to buy the auto parts maker for $36 a share, or $2.86 billion. Pzena Investment Management, its second-largest stockholder, has vocally criticized the offer as too low. Concern is also growing that bondholders and credit markets aren't as receptive to financing the recent boom in leveraged buyouts. Last week, Ahold's (AHLN.AS: Quote, Profile , Research) U.S. Foodservice postponed the financing backing its $7.1 billion LBO by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts due to weak market conditions, sources told Reuters Loan Pricing Corporation. U.S. Foodservice was raising a $3.36 billion bank loan and a $650 million high yield bond offering.