It's high noon for Carl Icahn and Forest Laboratories. As the company's annual meeting looms Wednesday, both sides are firing their final shots. Icahn, the activist investor who's had many a proxy-fight showdown with drug companies, is accusing the company of hiding key info from shareholders. And Forest, in essence, is calling him a liar.
There appears to be a slight tremor in the heretofore unyielding force field of support by the Forest Laboratories board for its octogenarian CEO Howard Solomon.
At least one third party agrees with Carl Icahn about Forest Laboratories. Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy advisory firm, has backed two of Icahn's four nominees to the Forest board.
The Delaware court ruling comes amid Icahn's ongoing squabble with Forest, which he's accused of mismanagement.
As Forest reported a 79% drop in earnings, falling short of analyst expectations, Icahn issued his latest attack on management, defending his nominees to the company's board and citing the company's "underperformance" compared with other drugmakers.
Independent directors at Forest Laboratories ($FRX) responded the same day to Carl Icahn's latest missive, an appeal to the independents to please let him put some people on their board. And they not only say no, but something akin to hell no.
Carl Icahn is obviously getting nowhere with Forest Laboratories CEO Howard Solomon. Allow Icahn's nominees on the board without a fight? Solomon would have none of it. The prospects are naturally even worse, now that their public argument has turned acrimonious and personal.
This time, Carl Icahn may have chosen a biopharma adversary as stubborn as himself. And that's saying something. Forest Laboratories CEO Howard Solomon shows no sign of backing down in his defense of the company's current regime.
Carl Icahn has another beef with Howard Solomon. The activist investor says he's suspicious about the Forest Laboratories CEO's sale of $500 million in stock over the last few years--at prices "well above the current market." It looks like "a savvy bet" against Forest's future prospects, Icahn says, aided by insider knowledge.
Because of who he is, a very rich and very successful activist investor, Carl Icahn can say what other investors only think. And of course, he does. And this time it is a very pointed remark about Forest Laboratories ($FRX) CEO Howard Solomon and his son David.