Biovail investors elect incumbent director slate

Fri Aug 8, 2008 12:40pm EDT
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By Scott Anderson

TORONTO (Reuters) - Biovail Corp shareholders approved the company's incumbent slate of directors on Friday, ending an ugly proxy fight that included two shareholder meetings and a brief courtroom battle.

Shareholders, who were forced to recast their votes after an Ontario court deemed Biovail's June 25 meeting was improperly held, approved the slate with what the company said was a "clear and unequivocal majority."

The official numbers were expected to be released later in the day.

"We're glad it's over. It has been a distracting and expensive process, but I think we have the mandate to move forward and implement a real fundamental change in the business model under great leadership," Chairman Douglas Squires told reporters after the meeting.

Last month an Ontario court judge ordered Biovail to reconvene its shareholder meeting and vote on a new slate of directors being proposed by founder Eugene Melnyk to replace the incumbent board.

Melnyk, who is Biovail's biggest shareholder, argued that the original meeting was held improperly because it lacked a quorum. Just moments before it started, the company had changed the quorum requirement that 51 percent of shares be represented to 25 percent so that the meeting could proceed.

Melnyk, the millionaire owner of the Ottawa Senators National Hockey League team, had pulled his own block of about 18.8 million shares in advance of the meeting in attempt to have it postponed so that he could build more support for his directors and business plan.

He has proposed a new emphasis on the company's product pipeline, including a return to "difficult to manufacture" generic drugs, as well as acquiring more products and technologies.   Continued...