Hologic Averts Proxy Fight By Making A Deal With Carl Icahn

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Hologic Averts Proxy Fight By Making A Deal With Carl Icahn
Image source: CNBC Video Screenshot

Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX) apparently played “Let’s Make a Deal” with Carl Icahn in an attempt to protect itself from a proxy battle. The company named a new president and CEO and also agreed to Icahn’s demand that it appoint two of his nominees to its board. Hologic made the announcement via a press release on its website.

Hologic adds Icahn’s picks to its board

Former Stryker Corporation (NYSE:SYK) CEO Stephen MacMillan will become Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX)’s new president and CEO. In addition, Icahn Capital managing directors Samuel Merksamer and Jonathan Christodoro will join Hologic’s board. In exchange, Icahn said he would vote in support of Hologic’s current directors at the company’s March shareholders’ meeting.

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MacMillan was at the helm of Stryker for over seven years before resigning last year, citing family reasons. He’s joining a company that has much to prove over the next year. Hologic has been posting net losses for some time and has even cut its guidance recently.

Icahn moves in on Hologic

Last month Carl Icahn disclosed his stake in Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX), calling it undervalued and stating the usual activist intent of planning to push for a seat on the company’s board. Icahn has been known to shake up numerous companies. Xconomy points to his shakeups at Biogen Idec Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), now-former Genzyme (bought by Sanofi) and Amylin Pharmaceuticals (pre-Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) and AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN).

Not long after Icahn disclosed his stake in Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX), the company moved to protect itself with the adoption of a so-called “poison pill” or shareholders’ rights plan. There was speculation that Icahn may follow his previous wins in the biotech industry, possibly priming Hologic for a sale to another major company. However, RBC Capital analyst Glenn Novarro thinks a buyout is less likely now that MacMillan has been appointed president and CEO. He thinks a turnaround “will have to come from somewhere else.”

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