Eastbourne Capital Dumps Entire Stake in Amylin After Partial Victory in Proxy Battle

Xconomy San Diego — 

[Updated: 10/9/09, 3:51 pm Pacific] Eastbourne Capital, one of the powerful dissident shareholders who won a partial victory in a proxy fight this spring against San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals, has sold its entire stake in the company, according to a regulatory filing released late today.

Eastbourne unloaded all of its holdings in Amylin (NASDAQ: AMLN) about four months after one of its nominated directors, Kathleen Behrens, was elected to the company’s 12-member board, along with Alex Denner, a nominee put forward by billionaire shareholder activist Carl Icahn. San Rafael, CA-based Eastbourne, led by founder and portfolio manager Rick Barry, held a 12.5 percent stake in Amylin during the spring proxy contest. Eastbourne had nominated three directors to the Amylin board, while Icahn had nominated two more, in their quest to shake up the board.

Today’s filing doesn’t say what price Eastbourne sold its shares at, or how much it generated in the stock sales, but Amylin closed this week at $14.20, not far from the company’s 52-week high of $15.90. Amylin, the developer of a novel treatment for diabetes, came under fire from Eastbourne and Icahn, who argued that it underperformed when compared to its peers, failed to control spending, and operated under unfavorable partnership terms with drug giant Eli Lilly.

A spokesman for Eastbourne declined to comment on the stock sales, and so did a spokeswoman for Amylin.

[Updated with added context from my colleague Bruce Bigelow.]

Eastbourne’s Barry indicated some frustration to Bruce in early August about the board’s slow pace in choosing a new chairman after the new directors were elected in June. Later in August, the board named former Novartis CEO Paulo Costa as chairman.