Biogen: 1, Carl Icahn: 0, Yahoo: ?
Look out Jerry Yang, Carl Icahn now has one fewer distraction as he prepares to propose his slate of dissident board nominees at Yahoo’s Aug. 1 shareholder meeting.
At its own shareholder meeting yesterday, Biogen (BIIB) investors voted to support management’s preferred board candidates and to reject a slate of directors proposed by Icahn, who’s been squabbling with the company’s leadership in call-and-response SEC filings since its failed effort to sell Biogen last year. With 4% of Biogen’s stock, Icahn had been keen on a sale and accused its board of screwing things up when one didn’t occur.
Biogen shareholders obviously didn’t see things that way and seem to have dealt Icahn a knockout blow. “I don’t think there’s any way in which outside observers could fairly criticize Biogen management for the way they handled the sale process,” said Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen in New York. “They can’t be faulted or praised. They have done the best they can with the cards they were dealt.”
Meanwhile, the slate of dissident directors Icahn’s put together for Yahoo (YHOO) continues to attract support. Said one Yahoo shareholder, “He should go ahead. It’s an indicator of the widespread dissatisfaction of shareholders with Yahoo’s management and the board. If nothing else, (it’s) to keep them honest and nobody’s really sure if Microsoft (MSFT) is completely out of the picture.”