Biogen Idec is lacing up its gloves for another boxing match with Carl Icahn. The company is advising shareholders to reject Icahn's ideas for overhauling the company--namely, his four nominees for the 13-member board of directors and his proposal to move Biogen's state of incorporation to North Dakota, which has adopted some shareholder-friendly laws. Shareholders will vote at the company's annual meeting this summer (date TBA).
It's Biogen's second round with Icahn, who in 2007 pressed the company to go on the block--which it did to no avail--and then in 2008 mounted a proxy fight, saying that Biogen had more-or-less rigged its auction process. Only 19 percent of shareholders voted with Icahn last time.
In the middle of all this Icahn-slugging, Biogen CEO James C. Mullen (photo) got a 7 percent increase in compensation for 2008, largely because of a bigger incentive bonus. Mullen's package totaled about $11.3 million, including a 4 percent salary increase to almost $1.2 million and a cash bonus of $2.4 million, which came in at 24 percent over last year's. The biggest chunk of his compensation came as restricted stock and options valued at about $7.4 million when they were granted last February. The options are worth little now, however, because their strike price is higher than Biogen's current trade.