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Icahn Presses Effort to Replace Board of Visx

November 21, 2001|From Bloomberg News

Financier Carl Icahn renewed his efforts to oust the board of Visx Inc., the biggest maker of lasers used in eye surgery, and proposed for election a five-member slate that includes himself.

Icahn and affiliates said in a letter dated Tuesday that they believe his nominees will be better able to "enhance stockholders' value." The letter was submitted with a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Mr. Icahn is a Visx shareholder, and we're always interested in what he has to say," said Visx spokeswoman Lola Wood, who added that the company hadn't received the letter. "I guess nothing changes, and we're going to do what's in the best interest of stockholders."

Icahn, who also has made takeover offers for Nabisco Group Holdings Corp., Trans World Airlines Inc. and Texaco Inc., owns 11% of Visx common stock. He has sought to take control of Visx's board and sell the laser maker to a larger company.

Icahn scrapped a previous proxy battle in May, saying Visx management had become interested in selling the Santa Clara-based company.

Visx had asked shareholders to back the current board, saying Icahn offered nothing new. The company hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. last year to look into a possible sale or merger. Visx shares, which have climbed 29% this year, rose 91 cents, or 7.2%, to close at $13.51 in trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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