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BEA gives Icahn access to confidential financials

BEA Systems hopes Carl Icahn, its largest shareholder, will gain a better sense of the company's value after reviewing the documents.

BEA Systems announced Monday that Carl Icahn can review its confidential financial documents, as the company seeks to convince its largest individual investor that it's worth more than a $6.7 billion buyout offer from Oracle.

Icahn has been calling on the middleware software maker to auction itself off to the highest bidder since archrival Oracle presented it with a $17 a share buyout offer. And although BEA has stated it will take $21 a share for an interested party to receive a seat at its negotiating table, Icahn has scoffed at that figure, saying it's too high and reflects a "management entrenchment tactic."

But BEA, which has yet to release its audited financials going back to August 2006, said it hopes Icahn will gain a better sense of the company's value after reviewing the confidential documents. Those documents are expected to include such information as profit margins and the company's long-term business outlook.

"We are pleased to be able to share nonpublic information about BEA's business with Mr. Icahn. We are confident this information will enable him to appreciate that the $17 per share bid from Oracle significantly undervalues BEA in a sale," Alfred Chuang, BEA's chief executive, said in a statement.

Under the nondisclosure agreement, Icahn can disclose the information he received once February 1 rolls around. Before that time, he will be restricted from trading BEA stock, based on information he derives from those confidential documents.

Calls to Icahn were not returned, and BEA referenced its company statement and SEC filings when asked for comment. Oracle declined to comment on the matter.

The agreement does not prevent Icahn from moving forward with his lawsuit, which calls for the Delaware Chancery Court to force BEA to hold its annual shareholders meeting, where Icahn could put forth an opposition slate of board members.

Under such a move, Icahn would likely push for a sale of the company to the highest bidder.