Illumina stockholders elect one of Icahn’s candidates to board after proxy fight


Illumina Inc. ILMN, -8.77% shareholders voted Thursday to elect one of activist investor Carl Icahn’s nominees to its board, and voted against the re-election of company Chairman John Thompson, according to media reports on Thursday. The genomics company has been engaged in a proxy battle with Icahn since March, who was seeking to unseat its chairman and chief executive and add three of his own candidates to the board. Illumina had blasted back that Icahn’s board nominees were “unqualified,” urging shareholders to reject all three and instead support its “highly qualified” nominees. Icahn had said that Chief Executive Francis de Souza and other “protectors” seem “dead set on destroying the company.” Illumina had defended its own track record. “Illumina is the only pure-play genomics company with profitable revenue growth,” it said in an early May statement. Icahn started the proxy fight with Illumina in March, criticizing the company’s plan to buy cancer-screening company Grail Inc. But Icahn himself is in a weakened position, under fire from a recent report from short seller Hindenburg Research accusing the firm of inflating asset values and causing his company to trade at a large premium. The report has cost IEP $10.9 billion in lost market cap since it was published on May 2. Last week, the storied investor admitted he was wrong to take a huge short position that led to losses of $9 billion. And earlier this month, IEP disclosed a federal probe into its corporate governance and other issues. It’s not clear if that was related to the Hindenburg report.

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