Icahn Sues Biogen for Failed-Sale Records

He claims the company sabotaged its supposed plans to sell itself; Biogen dismisses his "wild conspiracy theories."
Stephen TaubApril 9, 2008

Carl Icahn, who is pursuing a partial proxy fight with Biogen Idec, has embarked on a new strategy to achieve his goals.

The billionaire corporate-raider-turned-activist has filed a lawsuit seeking the biotechnology company’s records related to its recent failed attempt to sell itself, Reuters reported.

Icahn, who is seeking three seats on Biogen’s board of directors at its 2008 annual meeting, claims Biogen deliberately sabotaged the deal by making it prohibitively difficult for potential buyers to talk to Biogen’s partners Elan Corp. Plc and Genentech Inc., according to the Reuters report.

“This in turn prevented any potential bidders from learning where Biogen’s third-party partners stood on exercising change-of-control options on key Biogen drugs,” Icahn reportedly said in the court filing.

He demanded access to documents and board-meeting minutes to determine what the board knew about the sale process.

Biogen spokeswoman Naomi Aoki told Reuters the company does not consider the request valid. “We think his request is another in a series of manipulative tactics to advance his single-minded agenda to force a sale of the company,” she reportedly said. “This time he is using the request to continue to propagate his wild conspiracy theories.”

Icahn is seeking the documents so he can make them public. “We don’t consider that a proper purpose as defined by the law,” Aoki also reportedly said.