Glass Lewis determined the company has been transparent with its plans to expand its product base and has made “notable strides” in governance, New York-based Forest said today in a statement. The proxy advisory firm raised concerns about a lack of independence among some of Icahn’s nominees, Forest said.
Icahn, Forest’s second-largest shareholder with 9.9 percent of the stock, has nominated four directors, saying the drugmaker didn’t adequately prepare for the loss of patent protection on its top-selling drug, Lexapro, and questioning the potential for the chief executive officer’s son to succeed him. Icahn failed to get any of four nominees elected to Forest’s board last year.
The investor yesterday won the support of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., another proxy adviser, for two of his nominees. ISS urged shareholders vote for Daniel Ninivaggi, Icahn Enterprises LP (IEP)’s chief executive officer, and Pierre Legault, CEO of Stone Management LLC and the former chief financial officer of OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company sold to Astellas Pharma Inc. (4503) in 2010.
Egan-Jones Proxy Services, a third advisory firm, recommended Forest shareholders vote for all four Icahn nominees, Icahn said in a statement July 30.
“The board is unanimous in its belief that the company’s current strategy positions Forest to deliver sustainable value for all shareholders,” Forest said in the statement today. “Our board is squarely focused on building on the momentum we have behind our promising new products and late-stage pipeline - which is one of the most robust in the pharma industry.”
Forest declined 1.6 percent to $32.43 at 9:31 a.m. New York time. The shares lost 10 percent in the 12 months through yesterday.
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