Updated from 5:00 p.m. EDT
Carl Icahn believes he won two seats on the board of
following a proxy fight at the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, moving him one step closer in his bid to change the company's direction.
"We have the count. We did the count. We think we're there," Icahn told TheStreet.com, two hours after the close of the meeting.
Biogen countered that it's too early for the Icahn camp to declare any kind of victory. "It's difficult to comment on
his claim as the official tabulation has not been completed," a Biogen spokesperson said. She couldn't say when the final tally would come.
Icahn, who didn't attend the meeting himself, would not be specific about his immediate plans should his vote count -- and two board seats -- prove accurate. "You hope that we can sort of do what we did with ImClone," he said, referring to the biotech firm he forced the sale of last year, for $6.5 billion to
. "It's sort of analogous. We just hope to make
management more accountable."
Icahn's relationship with ImClone's top management was, however, somewhat friendlier. When asked if he intended to attempt to oust Biogen's chief executive, James Mullen, whom Icahn has made no bones about criticizing sharply and publicly, Icahn rebuffed the question.
"No, no. Don't say that," he said. "Don't say that."
The biotech concern was holding its annual meeting in Cambridge, Mass., Wednesday when the company's chairman suddenly gavelled a recess to the proceedings at around 11 a.m. He extended the time shareholders have to vote from an original deadline of 9 a.m until 2 p.m. Wednesday, the
Wall Street Journal
and other organs reported, even as Icahn's associates yelled their objections from the floor.
When the meeting reconvened at 2 p.m., company executives immediately adjourned it again without totting up the votes.
On the agenda Wednesday was a proxy fight between Icahn and Biogen management -- their second in two years -- as the billionaire takeover maven and shareholder activist attempts to wrest control of the company away from executives he has accused of mismanagement and over-compensation.
According to the
, the Icahn camp believes that shareholders elected two of its four rebel nominees, Dr. Alexander J. Denner, and Dr. Richard C. Mulligan, a Harvard Medical School professor, to its board in the Wednesday vote. Those are the same two men Icahn pushed onto ImClone's board.
Biogen shares closed slightly higher Wednesday, ending trading at $53.43, up about 2%, on a volume of 3.8 million shares. The average daily volume for the stock is 3.3 million.
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