Illumina nearly settled with Icahn

EU antitrust regulator Margrethe Vestager. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Illumina nearly avoided its fight with Carl Icahn via an agreement that would have put one nominee of the veteran activist on the company's board, according to its preliminary proxy filing on Thursday.

Driving the news: Talks broke down due to Icahn wanting two seats, as well as additional demands.

Details: Illumina, a $36 billion company that specializes in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, said in its filing that Icahn was adamant about his nominees.

  • Icahn said he “would not even support Jesus Christ” as an independent candidate over one of his nominees because “my guys answer to me” the filing says.
  • Icahn did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Zoom in: Icahn is nominating three directors from his firm to serve on the board.

  • Illumina's filing on Thursday urged shareholders to elect its own nine nominees to the board.

Of note: Icahn, who owns 1.4% of Illumina, is pushing the company to unwind its acquisition of cancer detection test maker Grail. Illumina's market value has plunged by more than half since closing the Grail deal.

  • EU authorities continue to object to the Grail takeover, forcing Illumina to run the business as a subsidiary while the company and the European regulators seek a final outcome.

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