Southwest Gas’ (NYSE: SWX) move to consider a sale after getting an indication of interest from a potential buyer is a “desperate” strategy to spoil his efforts to take over the company, Carl Icahn said Tuesday in an open letter to Southwest Gas shareholders.
Southwest Gas (SWX) “will now have you believe that they are running a legitimate process to explore strategic alternatives,” but the board and management team actually are “doing as little as possible to try to win the proxy contest while at the same maintaining full optionality to further entrench and enrich themselves, “according to Icahn, who has launched a proxy battle seeking control of the utility’s board, with a shareholder vote scheduled for May 12.
Selling the company could take at least a year and a half to complete, and Icahn asks shareholders: “Are you willing to trust this board and CEO John Hester for another year and a half to find out whether they will destroy any deal they theoretically might have and thus stay entrenched? “
Icahn’s letter comes a day after Southwest Gas (SWX) said it is reviewing strategic alternatives including a potential sale, after receiving an indication of interest from a potential buyer “well in excess” of Icahn’s latest offer of $ 82.50 / share.