Bristol-Myers Squibb vs. Icahn
Searching for potential deals, Bristol-Myers Squibb set its sights on ImClone, but it hadn't prepared for its bristling investor-turned-CEO, Carl Icahn (photo). After receiving what he perceived to be a low-ball, "absurd," $4.5 billion offer for the company, Icahn sent off impassioned missives, both to BMS execs and the press.
Just days after BMS' late-July bid, Icahn fired the first shot, with support from his board, saying the $60-per-share bid was too low. A few weeks later, he announced he had received a $70-per-share bid, leading some of BMS' leaders to falter, including CFO Jean-Marc Huet (photo), who said, "You should never fall in love with an asset." The company pressed on, revealing its long-term plans for ImClone, including separating its development departments into another entity.
But the war didn't stop there. Icahn continued, and the cuts got deeper. "If you wish to make your attorneys wealthier, I can show you more productive ways to do so," he wrote. "Or, if you simply want publicity, I can also help you in that regard without your having to make unnecessary expenditures."
After two months of hostility, BMS backed down and ImClone accepted a $6.5 billion offer from Eli Lilly, which we considered one of the top 10 deals of 2008.