Sarissa Capital Comments on Alkermes Annual Meeting

Business Wire (07/06/22)

Sarissa Capital Management LP expressed its voting intentions for the upcoming Alkermes (ALKS) annual meeting and its underlying motivation. "Despite Alkermes growing revenues in the last five years and having annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, Alkermes has consistently operated at a net loss," Sarissa stated. "During the same period, Alkermes stock has declined nearly 60% and underperformed the IBB by approximately 130%. Based on conversations with CEO [Richard] Pops and its experience to date with the Alkermes nomination and governance process, Sarissa believes that certain of the independent directors are uncomfortable making decisions that are not supported by, or that reflect criticism of, CEO Pops." Despite the hope of Sarissa gaining board representation to help generate value for all shareholders, the investor said Pops' rendition of the dialogues in the Alkermes' securities filings "is fraught with misleading statements, inaccuracies, and material omissions." Sarissa calls the company's supposedly detailed abstract of their communications "counterproductive, unprofessional, and...blatantly and materially incorrect." The commentary added that "a policy of releasing misleading summaries of our private conversations is low class. We caution others having seemingly private conversations with Richard Pops that he may be taking notes of each conversation that he intends to later release to the public in a self-serving and misleading way." Sarissa thus supports recently appointed directors, as well as directors Anstice and Dixon's decision to not stand for re-election, which "should create an environment in the boardroom that will enable the directors to do the right thing for shareholders even in the face of resistance from Pops." Given Sarissa's conviction that Alkermes' shares are substantially undervalued and that its representation on the board can help to unlock such value, the investor plans "to vote 'for' the Alkermes slate of directors (which consists entirely of recently appointed directors) at the upcoming annual meeting. If, however, a Sarissa representative is not soon appointed to the Alkermes board, then we will take steps under Irish law to quickly call another shareholder meeting that seeks to selectively remove and replace certain board members with those that Sarissa believes will act in the best interest of shareholders."

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Abortion and Other ESG Issues Rise Up the AGM Agenda

Financial Times (07/02/22) Temple-West, Patrick

While Carl Icahn's battle to stop McDonald's (MCD) from sourcing pork from farms that cage sows in small crates ended in defeat, corporate boardrooms would be wrong to assume that the defeat heralded much of a waning of environmental, social and governance-focused activism, writes Financial Times columnist Patrick Temple-West. "In fact, environmental and social issue advocates — often little-known grinders who fight companies at their annual meetings year after year — scored wins that boards need to recognize and appreciate before the next wave of campaigns comes around. For example, a shareholder campaign to stop companies from including nondisclosure agreements in employment contracts won support at several major companies, while corporate workplace petitions also fared well in 2022. Audit petitions for both social and environmental causes are also rising, though some of this year's climate change proposals failed. "Boardroom battles will settle down for the summer before the first volleys for meetings season 2023 are launched later this year," says Temple-West, with abortion looming as a hot topic. Already, shareholders have pushed a handful of companies to say more about costs and risks to their business from greater restrictions on abortions. Shareholder proposals demanding more such information won 30% shareholder support at TJ Maxx (TJX) and Lowe's (LOW).

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