For Carl Icahn, it’s the kind of vindication money just can’t buy.

Last week, the billionaire and shareholder agitator dropped his $1.7 billion bid to buy Commercial Metals Co. after the scrap metal recycler — backed up by the opinion of bankers at Goldman Sachs — rejected his $15-a-share offer as “bargain basement.”

On Tuesday, just one week after Icahn backed down, Goldman’s research arm issued a report that added CMC to the firm’s “sell” list — a rare rating for typically eager-to-please Wall Street.

The analyst who issued the report, Sal Tarani, also slapped CMC with a six-month price target of $10 share — helping push the stock below $13 a share for the first time in months.

Heavy Metal Rift
Icahn, Goldman in clash over failed bid for recycler

Last Updated: 4:30 AM, January 20, 2012

Bloomberg News

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn (above) is spitting nails after butting heads with Goldman Sachs in his bid to buy manufacturer and recycler Commercial Metals Co.
The shares closed yesterday down 1.9 percent to $12.69.

The flip-flop raised eyebrows among corporate governance experts and reignited criticisms over the independence of investment bank opinion letters.

Reached at his office yesterday, Icahn chuckled over the irony, although it was clear he was also displeased.

“You wouldn’t believe this if it was in a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit,” Icahn said. “The system truly is dysfunctional.”

"Have opinion you want. Will give it. Wire Goldman,” he joked.

While both CMC and Goldman declined to comment, outspoken financial consultant Janet Tavakoli said such practices are common.

If the board of directors “has an incentive to not go ahead with the deal ... and if the adviser is getting paid by the board of directors, what do you think the outcome is going to be?” she said.

"You can’t tell me that their investment bankers are less competent than their equity analysts,” she added.

Read more: