Billionaire investor Carl Icahn took exception with Amylin management's statement that he wants to engineer a prompt sale of the biotechnology company to its diabetes drug partner, Eli Lilly and Co
In a letter to Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc
Icahn and Eastbourne have each launched proxy battles aimed at shaking up Amylin's board, putting up their own slates of board candidates for shareholder consideration.
I absolutely did not say that Amylin should be sold 'promptly,' Icahn said in the letter dated Tuesday and released publicly, calling it one of the many misstatements you have made concerning our weekend of discussions.
Icahn did admit to an angry exchange in which he asked Amylin management why it was preventing Lilly from making a bid for the company.
But he said, It is a complete misstatement on your part to any way suggest that I wish to sell Amylin to Lilly at today's prices.
Quite the contrary! No one has ever accused me of selling cheaply, Icahn wrote.
Amylin shares closed at $10.80 on Nasdaq on Tuesday, up 5.8 percent for the day.
In a letter to Icahn made public in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Wilson said Amylin believes a sale right now would dramatically undervalue the company.
Icahn is apparently in agreement. I do not sell cheaply and would certainly not recommend selling Amylin unless we were offered at least over $30 per share, at which time I might recommend selling it, Icahn said in the letter.
Icahn's run at Amylin bears similarities to his strategy with ImClone Systems. And indeed, in the letter, Icahn pointed out his success in engineering ImClone's sale to Lilly at $70 per share, which earned him a tidy $1 billion profit.
He said he negotiated the $70 price after urging ImClone to reject an unsolicited bid in the high $30s and even a $62 per share bid by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
Amylin and Lilly share the diabetes drug Byetta in a 50-50 partnership.
Amylin's stock has fallen dramatically since hitting $35 last August amid safety concerns involving Byetta and fear that approval of a highly anticipated long-acting version of the drug might be delayed.
Lilly has said it is very satisfied with its relationship with Amylin and its management team, and declined to comment on discussions between Amylin and its shareholders.
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Richard Chang)