* Biogen says results of shareholder vote not yet tallied
* Icahn party claims won two of four seats contested
* Biogen shares up 2 pct
(Adds details, background throughout)
By Scott Malone
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 3 Biogen Idec Inc
(BIIB.O) officials told shareholders on Wednesday they did not
yet know if Carl Icahn -- who has called for the biotechnology
company to be split in two -- had won seats on the board.
But Alexander Denner, a representative of the activist
billionaire investor, told reporters after the company's
shareholder meeting that Icahn Partners' proxy solicitors
believed it had secured enough votes to claim two of four seats
it had sought on the 13-member board.
Icahn, who owns a 5.6 percent stake in the company, wants
the board to consider breaking it into two parts, one focused
on neurology and the other targeting cancer treatments. This is
the second year in a row he has waged a proxy battle against
the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, one of the oldest
and largest biotechs.
Biogen Chairman Bruce Ross -- who had recessed the meeting
for three hours saying that some shareholders had not yet had
the chance to vote -- called it back to order at 2 p.m. Eastern
time (1800 GMT) for less than five minutes.
"Later in June we will receive the final report of the
inspector of elections," Ross told shareholders remaining at
the meeting. The group appeared smaller than the audience of
100 who sat through the meeting's two-hour opening session.
Icahn himself did not appear at the meeting.
Denner declined to say what margin Icahn Associates
believed its nominees had won by.
Biogen spokeswoman Naomi Aoki said the company was still
tallying the final vote count and intended to release the total
"as soon as possible," but not necessarily on Wednesday.
Biogen shares were up $1.15, or 2.2 percent, at $53.47 in
late afternoon on the Nasdaq, off an earlier high at $54.50.
'THEY RAN OUT THE DOOR'
After making a brief statement, Ross and the rest of
Biogen's board and top executives filed quickly out of the
room, leaving Denner and Richard Mulligan -- the other
Icahn-backed director that Denner said had enough votes to be
elected -- standing in the theater Biogen had rented for the
meeting in Cambridge.
"I actually would have liked to talk to them, but they ran
out the door," Denner said.
He said he did not want Icahn's ability to work with Biogen
to be hurt.
"We really hope to work with them as a group and do the
best for shareholders," Denner said. "I know a number of board
members personally on the Biogen board and they're good people
... their specific actions here don't reflect the general
Last year, Icahn had sought to sell the company, and his
slate of directors was voted down by a ratio of 75 to 25.
"Whether they end up with a couple seats or not, I'm not
sure they're going to have material impact on the way this
company is run," said Eric Schmidt, analyst for Cowen and Co.
During the morning portion of the meeting, Denner said that
the Icahn group believed it could help Biogen grow.
"Our objective really is to bring this to be the next
Genentech, if you will, to bring it to the next level in terms
of market cap, in terms of its reach within the biotech
industry, in terms of the respect it gets in the biotech
industry," Denner said. "It should be a larger company and I
think it can be over time."
Genentech last year was acquired by Swiss drugmaker Roche
Holding AG ROG.VX in a $46.8 billion deal.
Icahn last year engineered the $6.5 billion sale of
biotechnology company ImClone Systems to Eli Lilly & Co
"The results of the company speak for itself, its ability
to generate earnings and cash flow, its ability to do so with a
real consistency," Director Brian Posner said, as part of
Biogen's response to Denner.
While some shareholders called on the company to listen to
Icahn, others cautioned against taking his advice, recalling
how the famed corporate raider in the late 1980s played a role
in downsizing now-defunct airline TWA.
"I saw what he did to TWA," said Ray Rogers, a shareholder
and labor activist. "If he would do the same thing to this
company, you wouldn't want him involved in this company."
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Additional reporting by Bill
Berkrot in New York; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Gerald E.
McCormick, Matthew Lewis, Gary Hill)