The activist investor Starboard Value announced Thursday its intention to use its stake in Bristol-Myers Squibb to oppose the Celgene acquisition by the drug maker.
Smith argued that Starboard was "surprised" to learn about this acquisition proposal in the wake of what he termed as poor financial and stock market performance in recent years. Bristol-Myers announced in January an agreement to buy Celgene a record $ 74 billion.
"The measures we are taking – especially our intention to solicit shareholders to block the Celgene acquisition – are not taken lightly," added Smith. "This idea has been consolidated by the many other important long-term shareholders who also seem to believe that this transaction is not in the shareholders' interest."
The investment company Wellington Management also announced Wednesday its opposition to the Bristol-Myers acquisition. Wellington said that he "did not believe that the Celgene transaction is an attractive route to" businesses that "provide differentiated science and broaden the future revenue base."