Carl Icahn publicly opposes $54 billion Cigna-Express Scripts deal

Billionaire Carl Icahn is urging Cigna shareholders to vote against the health insurer's proposed $54 billion acquisition of Express Scripts.

Billionaire Carl Icahn is urging Cigna shareholders to vote against the health insurer's proposed $54 billion acquisition of Express Scripts. In an open letter to shareholders, Icahn says: "Cigna is dramatically overpaying for a highly challenged Express Scripts that is facing existential risks on several fronts." Among his concerns are the increasing threat from Amazon.com and indications from the Trump administration that it may limit the manufacturer rebates that PBMs receive. "Competitive risk from Amazon, arguably the strongest competitor in the world, will be an existential threat to PBMs like Express Scripts," Icahn says. While Icahn and his affiliates hold about 0.56% of Cigna—a stake worth more than $250 million as of Monday's market close, say people familiar with the situation—some observers note that he has limited time to rally other shareholders, and it is not known how much of his stake he can actually vote, as the record date has already gone by. Shareholders of Cigna and Express Scripts are set to vote on the deal on August 24. In order for the deal to close, a majority of the shares outstanding of both companies must be voted.