Carl Icahn rips proposed $54B Cigna-Express Scripts deal in shareholder letter

Billionaire Carl Icahn, an activist investor holding about 0.5 percent of Cigna, publicly opposed the health insurer's $54 billion bid for Express Scripts Aug. 7.

Mr. Icahn sent an open letter to shareholders calling on them to vote against Cigna's proposed takeover of the pharmacy benefits manager. He dubbed the deal a "$60 billion folly" with too high a price tag.

Mr. Icahn also argued Express Scripts faces regulatory headwinds as PBMs' rebate system is increasingly scrutinized. He said opposition to the "highly flawed rebate system will likely lower Express Scripts' profitability dramatically."

"Even if they do survive, exposing Cigna, a thriving company, to these risks by acquiring Express Scripts now is inexplicably ridiculous," Mr. Icahn said. "Purchasing Express Scripts may well become one of the worst blunders in corporate history."

News of Mr. Icahn's opposition to the deal surfaced Aug. 2. On the same day, Cigna CEO David Cordani told analysts during an earnings call that the deal is in the interest of shareholders. He said the deal will reward drugmakers for outcomes instead of consumption, according to Forbes.

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