Billionaire Carl Icahn has changed his mind on Cigna's $US52 billion purchase of Express Scripts

(Adam Jeffery via Getty Images)
  • Carl Icahn has dropped his fight to stop health insurer Cigna’s purchase of Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical company.
  • Last week, Icahn said he would try and solicit proxy votes to block the $US52 billion deal.
  • Icahn told CNBC that blocking the deal would be impossible and “there’s no point in fighting just to fight”.

Activist investor Carl Icahn has reversed his position on US health insurer Cigna’s purchase of pharmaceutical subscription company Express Scripts.

Last week, Icahn urged Cigna shareholders to vote against the $US52 billion dollar deal, and outlined plans to solicit proxy votes to build up enough to block the transaction.

However, on Monday Icahn told CNBC he would no longer oppose the deal.

Icahn has a long position in Cigna and has taken a short bet against Express Scripts. He argued last week that Cigna was paying an excessive premium on the deal. Icahn had initially urged Cigna shareholders to block the deal at an upcoming vote on August 24.

“The crossover was too big and given what the advisory firms said we realised there was no way we could win. Sometimes you have to be flexible. There’s no point in fighting just to fight. We won three proxy fights in a row which is really hard to do, so you lose one. It’s the way of life,” Icahn told CNBC.

Icahn made the comments after proxy advisory companies Glass Lewis & Co and Institutional Shareholder Services Inc (ISS) said they would support the deal.

Hedge fund Glenview Capital Management also said it would get behind the merger.

The proposed deal between Cigna and Express Scripts was first announced in March.

Cigna shares closed 0.83% lower at $US181.76 following the Icahn announcement, while shares in Express Scripts gained 0.45% to $84.02.

You can read more at CNBC here.

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