Icahn Says He Won 2 Biogen Seats (Update3)

Biogen calls a recess to its annual shareholder meeting, where a contested proxy battle may have been won by Carl Icahn. Two hours after the meeting, Icahn tells TheStreet.com that he has prevailed.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 5:00 p.m. EDT

Carl Icahn believes he won two seats on the board of

Biogen

(BIIB) - Get Report

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

Eli Lily

(LLY) - Get Report

. "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

Associated Press

, 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.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.