The Board's increase and broadening of its "golden parachute" severance agreements with management, under the ridiculous justification that such payouts are necessary to "attract and retain key employees," is particularly outrageous given Avigen's current circumstances. Our analysis indicates that these payouts, which we believe would be triggered by most "change in control" scenarios, including a liquidation, total at least $3 million, an incredible 20% of the Company's entire market value. The recipients of these golden parachute arrangements include Avigen's CEO, Ken Chahine, who resides in Park City, Utah, while the Company is based in California. How can the Company justify such actions as necessary to "attract and retain key employees" when Avigen has no real business at this time and has abandoned the development of all its products? These hastily adopted severance arrangements need to be revoked.
In addition, we believe the Board's implementation of the "poison pill" serves no purpose other than to keep BVF from purchasing additional stock in the Company. We are concerned that management and Board members are more concerned with retaining their jobs and compensation than with maximizing shareholder value. As evidence, Avigen's stock price has fallen more than 20% since the adoption of the poison pill. We find the poison pill to be disrespectful and offensive, given our substantial ownership position and our long history with the Company. Nevertheless, our response was to offer a compromise proposal: modify the poison pill to allow anyone to acquire as much stock as they like, however, neutralize the voting power on all shares of Avigen stock above a specified threshold. We specifically offered to have any additional shares that we acquire to abst
|SOURCE Biotechnology Value Fund, L.P.|
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