Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn on Tuesday urged Cigna stockholders to oppose the planned $54 billion acquisition of St. Louis County-based pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts.
Icahn owns 1.36 million shares of Cigna, or about 0.56 percent of the health insurance company. In an open letter Tuesday, Icahn listed concerns with the merger and called the deal “Cigna’s $60 billion folly.”
Icahn said Cigna is overpaying for Express Scripts and cited concerns about the pharmacy benefits manager’s profitability and very existence amid talk of regulatory changes that could affect the pharmacy delivery system.
He also said Amazon may threaten Express Scripts’ profitability. Amazon entered the drug distribution market when it bought online pharmacy PillPack in June.
Cigna officials responded by showing continued support for the merger and calling Icahn’s views “uninformed.”
Shareholders of Cigna and Express Script will vote on the merger Aug. 24.