Icahn backs down on Cigna-Express Scripts deal

After two proxy-advisory firms recommended that shareholders back the proposed merger of Cigna and Express Scripts, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said Monday that he has dropped his plan to solicit votes from Cigna shareholders against the $54 billion deal.

After two proxy-advisory firms recommended that shareholders back the proposed merger of Cigna and Express Scripts, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said Monday that he has dropped his plan to solicit votes from Cigna shareholders against the $54 billion deal. Icahn, who holds a 0.56% stake in Cigna, noted that substantial shareholder overlap between the two companies was also a factor in his decision. Icahn would have needed to win a lot of support. In addition to proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis recommending that shareholders support the merger, Glenview Capital Management has announced its support of the deal. The hedge fund has a $1.3 billion stake split between the two companies and noted the deal would save the firms' customers "billions of incremental dollars annually." Shareholders of Cigna and Express Scripts are set to vote on the deal on August 24.