Icahn Is Said to Build Small Position in Drugmaker Allergan

Carl Icahn has built a small position in Allergan Plc, according to people familiar with the matter, as the drugmaker plans to spin off its women’s health and antibiotic divisions.

Icahn’s motivation and the size of his investment remain unclear, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Icahn previously held a position in Allergan, disclosing a stake in 2016 that was sold in the first quarter of 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Allergan rose as much as 3.3 percent in late trading in New York on the news before settling at about $159, up about 2.3 percent from Wednesday’s close.

Icahn has a long history with Allergan Chief Executive Officer Brent Saunders. In 2013, Icahn helped place Saunders at the top spot at Forest Laboratories, which was sold to Allergan less than a year later. The two have maintained a friendly relationship, one of the people said.

“We welcome all investments in the company,” said Allergan spokeswoman Amy Rose.

Icahn’s new investment in Allergan comes as the company’s plan to sell the two divisions has come under fire from billionaire investor David Tepper. In a sternly worded letter to Allergan’s board Tuesday, Tepper called the decision to sell the units after a strategic review a “half-hearted attempt to restore strategic momentum” and is asking for a board shakeup at the drugmaker.

The letter was co-signed by Douglas Silverman, managing partner of Senator Investment Group LP, which owns a 0.7 percent stake in the company as well.

Another activist investor, Sarissa Capital Management, disclosed in February that it had taken a position in Allergan.