A billionaire investor claims the drug manufacturer Biogen Idec deliberately set up a search for a buyer that it knew was doomed to fail.
Carl Icahn, who owns around 4% of the firm, is also trying to get three of his supporters elected to the board of the biotechnology giant.
Market analysts had expected the group to find a potential suitor from one of the major pharmaceutical companies who would be interested in Biogen’s drug portfolio.
But the two-month search ended without anyone submitting a definitive offer.
Mr Icahn said in a statement: “We are taking this action because we believe that Biogen’s recent purported attempt to find a suitor was not conducted in a way to enhance the success of the endeavour.
“We believe that the process was flawed in a number of key respects, and that the process was run to placate us and other large shareholders who we believe asked for Biogen to find a buyer.
“We also believe that the confidentiality agreement was so restrictive that certain potential bidders were not able to sign the agreement, and therefore were not able to participate in the bidding.”
But Biogen Idec spokeswoman Naomi Aoki said: “We continue to stand behind our sale process, which was thorough, comprehensive, and consistent with industry standards.”
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