Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Tuesday that a majority of CVR Energy Inc. shares have been tendered in support of his hostile takeover bid for the oil refiner.
Icahn, who wants to take control and then sell the Sugar Land, Texas, company, said investors owning 55 percent of the company's outstanding shares accepted his offer of $30 per share.
But Icahn cannot actually buy those shares until CVR's board removes a "poison pill" rule that prevents the sale of the company. The board has refused to do that, arguing that it can deliver a greater return for shareholders.
Icahn called on the company to move up an annual meeting now scheduled for mid-May to decide the issue. He wants to replace the board with his own slate of members who would clear the way for a takeover.
Icahn also extended his $30 per share tender offer for the rest of the CVR shares until April 30. He is offering $2.26 billion for the shares he doesn't already own. The bid values the entire company at about $2.6 billion.
"In light of the clear message that shareholders have now sent to the board, it would be a shame if the board took any action to thwart or delay our offer," Icahn said in a statement.
If the board blocks his takeover bid, Icahn said he would launch a proxy fight to take control.
The CVR board noted in a statement that investors could withdraw shares tendered in Icahn's offer at any time.
"The real choice for stockholders will be at our annual meeting where they will decide whether to elect Mr. Icahn's hand-picked nominees in place of our qualified and experienced board of directors with their track record of delivering value," the board said.
The company's annual meeting is scheduled for May 18 in Sugar Land, Texas.
CVR Energy shares rose $1.76, or 6.5 percent, to $28.96 per share in morning trading _ still below the price Icahn is offering.