Carl Icahn Takes on Illumina (ILMN)

by | Apr 20, 2023

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Icahn Set for Proxy Battle with Illumina (ILMN)

Carl Icahn has been at odds with Illumina (ILMN) over his displeasure of their re-acquisition of GRAIL, and is waging a proxy battle to get three directors appointed to ILMN board. In this post we take a look at some of his (non-GRAIL deal specific related) points using the Boardroom Alpha platform.

Read Carl Icahn’s presentation on Illumina (ILMN) here.

Value destruction since closing the GRAIL deal.

Illumina’s stock is down ~57% vs. a -7% return for the S&P 500 since the GRAIL deal closed in August 2021.

A massive loss in value since Illumina’s GRAIL acquisition

Illumina Financial Performance under Francis deSouza

Illumina’s share price performance and fundamental financials have lagged its peers since Francis deSouza became CEO in 2016.

Under CEO Francis deSouza ILMN has trailed peers on most measures

Board Appointees Under deSouza

llumina’s board consists largely of appointees under deSouza’s tenure (except for Robert Epstein, Frances Arnold) with significant director turnover at the beginning of his tenure. 75% of the board started serving after deSouza took the helm.

Does deSouza control the board?

Illumina Chair John Thompson and Symantec

Icahn takes issue with Illumina Chairman John Thompson’s tenure as CEO of Symantec (now named Gen Digital), including their purchase of Veritas. Symantec purchased Veritas for $13.2B, and ultimately impaired by more than $7.5B

As CEO of Symnatec, John Thompson wrote down over $7.5B from their Veritas acquisition

CEO Pay at Illumina is Not Aligned with Performance

CEO pay at ILMN has soared as TSR has dropped

Bring Back Flatley?

Icahn has called for a new CEO, including suggesting Jay Flatley return on an interim or permanent basis. Flatley was Illumina’s CEO from 1999-2016 (board till 2021).

Illumina’s previous CEO Jay Flatley had the company beating most peers

BA’s Activist Vulnerability Flagged Issues Early at ILMN

Boardroom Alpha’s Activist Vulnerability score for Illumina spiked over a year in advance of Icahn’s proxy.

Recent Analysis

Weekly Activism & Executive Moves Review (April 12)

Macy’s and Arkhouse / Brigade enter an agreement, but the fight isn’t over yet. Illumina gets a new CFO as shareholders wait for Icahn’s directors to change trajectory. ANGI gets a new CEO as IAC CEO Levin steps aside.


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