Activist investors are loading up on Genzyme shares. Carl Icahn (photo), who's led proxy fights with several drug companies, tripled his stake in Genzyme to 4.8 million shares from 1.5 million shares. Ralph Whitworth, who leads Relational Investors, beefed up his share to 10.6 million shares from 6.9 million. Both disclosed the stock buys to the Securities and Exchange Commission in filings made last week.
But that doesn't mean the two are working together. In fact, Whitworth has a deal with Genzyme: He and Relational Investors support the company and its board nominees through this year. In return, he'll get representation on the company's board if he asks for it, anytime beginning in November. When the arrangement was announced, observers speculated that it was designed to thwart a potential proxy fight from Icahn.
Which isn't much of a cognitive leap, given Icahn's history. He's led two proxy fights at Biogen Idec, and last year won two seats on the company's board. Now, he may be prepping for a third battle. Last year Icahn also launched a proxy battle at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which ended in the departure of the company's chairman. And he also won that proxy fight at ImClone Systems, which now is owned by Eli Lilly.
- read the Bloomberg story