Genzyme in Icahn's Sights

(Genzyme stock quotes refreshed in this update.)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Carl Icahn is taking the fight to Genzyme ( GENZ) in a bid to wrest control of the biotech company from embattled Chairman and CEO Henri Termeer.

The billionaire investor has formally notified Genzyme that he will seek shareholder approval to seat four handpicked directors, including himself, on the company's board. TheStreet was the first to report Icahn's plans early Monday, which were later confirmed by Genzyme in a statement.

Icahn, whose proxy fight with Genzyme was widely anticipated, is expected to make his intentions known publicly later Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Our actions demonstrate that we are open and responsive to shareholder input, and we welcome a constructive dialogue with Mr. Icahn," said Termeer, in a statement.
Henri Termeer
Henri Termeer, CEO of Genzyme

Genzyme shares recently were down 27 cents, or 0.5%, to $55.70.

Genzyme is trying to recover from the worst operational crisis in the company's history. Sloppy manufacturing and quality control problems at Genzyme's Boston facility over the past year led to shortages of two key drugs, Cerezyme and Fabrazyme, used to treat rare genetic diseases. As a result, Genzyme's 2009 earnings barely grew and revenue fell. Last week, the company forecast 2010 adjusted earnings guidance below Wall Street's expectations.

Genzyme shares lost 26% of their value in 2009, sinking to a five-year low. The stock slump fueled investor anger and calls for a management shakeup, most notably the resignation of CEO Termeer, who has led the company for the past 25 years.

Termeer has stated publicly that he has no intention of resigning and that he is the right person to lead Genzyme's turnaround.

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