Southwest Gas Holdings issued a sharp response to a recent notification by billionaire investor Carl Icahn that he will nominate 10 candidates to its board of directors, part of his effort to take control of the company he says mismanages both its operations and its profits.
Icahn, who owns about 5 percent of Southwest Gas, recently notified the company that he intends to nominate his own slate of 10 candidates at the annual shareholders' meeting in 2022. The meeting's location, date and time is yet to be determined.
The tense missives are part of an ongoing dispute between the investor and the company, as Icahn recently threatened legal action against Southwest Gas if it sells its stock for less than the $75 per share he previously offered.
"Icahn's nomination of the Icahn slate follows the Board's rejection of Icahn's unsolicited, inadequate, structurally coercive, highly conditional and illusory tender offer to acquire the outstanding shares of the Company," Southwest Gas said in a Nov. 15 news release. "The nomination of the Icahn slate is the latest step in Icahn's efforts to take control of Southwest Gas without paying a control premium to Southwest Gas stockholders and otherwise pursue his self-serving agenda."
Icahn has accused Southwest Gas of amassing unnecessary administrative expenses and overhead costs, as well as mismanaging its operations, its personnel and its relationships with regulators. He particularly opposed the company's proposal to acquire Questar Pipeline LLC from Dominion Energy for $1.5 billion in cash and assume $430 million of its debt.
Southwest Gas has stated that the acquisition of Questar is beneficial to shareholders because it adds scale and value through a high-return suite of assets. Financing for the transaction has not yet been determined.
Southwest Gas' stock price continues to hover around $70 per share.