Billionaire investor Carl Icahn now says he will support Cigna’s proposed purchase of Express Scripts, citing recommendations of two influential proxy advisors who came out in favor of the merger.
“In light of the ISS (Institutional Shareholder Services) and Glass Lewis recommendations in favor of the Cigna/Express Scripts transaction and the significant stockholder overlap between the two companies, we have informed the SEC that we no longer intend to solicit proxies to vote against the transaction,” the activist investor said in a statement Monday night, August 13.
Previously short Express Scripts stock, Mr Icahn said last week that “the only shareholders we believe would vote for this very risky acquisition are those who also own Express Scripts and are desperate to save it even at the expense of losing a great deal of value in their Cigna investment”.
ISS and Glass Lewis hold significant sway over institutional investors. Their recommendations against grocer Albertsons purchase of Rite Aid contributed to the decision of those companies to call off their merger last week in the face of mounting opposition to that deal.