Icahn cancels proxy fight to force MedImmune sale

April 17, 2007|By Bloomberg News

Billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn dropped his plans to propose an opposing slate of directors for the board of Gaithersburg-based MedImmune Inc., noting the biotechnology company's decision to seek a buyer.

Icahn, in an e-mail statement yesterday, said he urged MedImmune "several weeks ago" to put the company up for sale. He also said at the time that he intended to nominate directors at the 2007 annual meeting "whose intention it would be to accomplish this."

In pulling back yesterday, Icahn said he reserved the right to pursue the proxy fight if MedImmune, Maryland's largest biotech company in sales and employment, fails to complete a sale. MedImmune announced last week that it would explore a sale and that several large pharmaceutical companies had expressed interest.

MedImmune makes the FluMist flu vaccine, which is given as a nasal spray, and Synagis, a treatment for respiratory infections in infants. It is also developing a vaccine for bird flu.

Icahn announced his 1.1 percent stake in the company earlier this year, and analysts said at the time his investment would be a catalyst for seeking a buyer. Icahn and other investors say the company's performance has been lackluster.

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