First Manhattan Co., the owner of approximately 9.9% of the outstanding shares of VIVUS, Inc. (Vivus) (NASDAQ: VVUS), today issued an open letter to Vivus' shareholders.
The full text of the letter follows:
July 11, 2013
Dear Fellow Vivus Shareholders:
We are pleased to report that our discussions with Vivus shareholders over these past several months have been very encouraging. We have received support from large and small shareholders alike. Shareholders have thanked us for our efforts to effect much needed change at Vivus. We share your sense of urgency for turning around the company. We have been planning for six months and are well prepared to catalyze this desperately needed positive change.
The annual meeting is just a few days away and time is running short. We encourage you to vote your shares today on the WHITE proxy card. If you have already voted Vivus’ gold proxy card, you can change your mind and vote the WHITE card. Every vote counts and your vote is important no matter how many shares you own. Even if you do not vote for all of our nominees, you should vote our WHITE proxy by mail, internet or phone.
Our nominees have constructed a clear and concise strategic plan for the future of Vivus. It addresses the serious missteps of the sitting board and lays out a path for the successful launch of Qsymia. It is a plan that can only be executed by our nominees and Tony Zook, who has agreed to serve as the next CEO of Vivus if our nominees are elected as a majority of the board. We are confident this plan and this leadership team will lead to the realization of the greatest value of your investment.
You have a simple choice ahead of you.
You have a choice for CEO of Vivus: Either Tony Zook, a giant in creating U.S. primary care blockbusters
OR the founder CEO who has no relevant experience in commercializing a primary care blockbuster drug.
You can choose to support our independent shareholder slate, a highly accomplished group of director nominees, each of whom has been thoughtfully selected for their expertise in the critical areas that urgently require fixing. The nominees as a group have the depth and right balance of new product launch, partnering, financial, turnaround and European regulatory experience that the Vivus’ board still lacks. Most importantly, the nominees on the shareholder slate are truly independent and fully aligned with shareholders' best interests.