Illumina shareholders oust board chair, CEO survives Carl Icahn proxy battle

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Activist investor Carl Icahn won enough support from Illumina shareholders to oust the biotech company’s board chairman on Thursday.

Shareholders booted Chairman John Thompson. An Illumina spokeswoman said a new chair would be elected in the next few weeks.

Icahn urged shareholders to vote the company’s CEO Francis D’Souza and Thompson off the nine-member board. D’Souza survived the proxy fight.

Shareholders voted to install one of Icahn’s three board nominees, Andrew Taino, a portfolio manager at Icahn Capital LP, an entity where Icahn manages investment funds.

Vote announced after Illumina’s annual meeting marks a conclusive end two month proxy fight more than one between Icahn and the company controversial acquisition,

In a statement, Illumina thanked Thompson for his service over the years, adding that his executive and business experience was of deep value.

Earlier this month, proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended Illumina’s shareholders supported Tenno.

Icahn, who owns a 1.4% stake in San Diego-based Illumina, proposed two other director candidates who are current or former employees of his.

The vote is a blow to Illumina, which claimed Icahn’s three nominees There is and will be a lack of “relevant skills and experience” “Threatening Progress” in the biotech company’s core DNA sequencing business.

Icahn has accused Illumina’s executive management and nine-member board of poor oversight, particularly with regard to the company’s management. $7.1 billion acquisition Cancer test maker Grill Key in 2021.

He has called on the company to end the “absurd and questionable” deal and oust its CEO Francis D’Souza “immediately”.

Icahn has slammed the executive for getting huge pay bump Despite the steep fall in the company’s market value.

Illumina’s market cap fell from about $75 billion to about $33 billion in August 2021, the month it closed the Grail acquisition.

Much of Icahn’s opposition to the deal stems from Illumina’s decision to close it without approval from antitrust regulators in the US and Europe.

Federal Trade Commission in April ordered Illumina distanced itself from the acquisition due to concerns that it would stifle competition and innovation.

FTC’s decision reverses an administrative judge’s decision september The decision, which dismissed the agency’s initial challenge to the deal.

The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, blocked the deal last year over similar concerns.

Illumina is appealing both orders and expects to make a final decision in late 2023 or early 2024.

The company has repeatedly defended its acquisition of Grille.

D’Souza told CNBC last month that the deal “makes sense” because Illumina could significantly expand the market for the grill. initial screening testWhich can detect more than 50 types of cancer through a single blood draw.

The CEO also spoke about 100% of the grill increase in revenue during the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

In 2022, Grail projects approximately $55 million in revenue. Illumina expects it to reach $110 million this year.

Icahn faced his own criticism during the proxy fight.

remarkable short seller Hindenburg Research accused Icahn Enterprises overvalued and compared it to “Ponzi-like economic structures”.

Icahn Enterprises called those claims “misleading and selfish.”

— CNBC’s Spencer Kimball contributed to this report.