Carl C. Icahn Issues Open Letter to
Stockholders of Southwest Gas
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, March 7, 2022 — Today, Carl C. Icahn released the following open letter to the stockholders of Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SWX).
Harkins Kovler, LLC
Peter Harkins / Jordan Kovler
(212) 468-5390 / (212) 468-5384
CARL C. ICAHN
16690 Collins Avenue, Suite PH-1
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
March 7, 2022
Dear Fellow SWX Stockholders:
It was fascinating to listen to the latest earnings call led by John Hester. In almost every sentence he proclaims he is going to do “what is right for stockholders.” Abraham Lincoln once said, “you can fool some of the people all the time, you can fool all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” John Hester obviously disagrees with Lincoln. Hester clearly believes you can fool all the people all the time. And he has been doing that relatively successfully for the last 6 years during his tenure at SWX. Not only has he managed to increase SG&A by 42% but he has also managed to irritate the State Utility Commissions – which is very bad for both stockholders and customers.
Hester is the quintessential example of what is wrong in Corporate America. CEOs like Hester earn excessive compensation, while stockholders suffer – as there really isn’t true corporate democracy and few ways to hold Hester accountable for his many inadequacies. But what is almost worse is that in his last hurrah, he wants to build an empire with corporate funds. Towards the end of the call, he refused to even say that he was finished expanding and buying companies after having been widely criticized for diversifying and greatly overpaying for Questar when everyone else is simplifying. By the way, did anyone else notice that Questar generated $182 million of EBITDA in 2020 and 2021 but now is expected to generate 7% less EBITDA in 2022? How does that even happen? Where was the due diligence and how did Hester justify paying $300 million more than a buyer with synergies?
Hester has now had an epiphany and decided to separate Centuri. He doesn’t quite explain what he is doing but appears to be claiming that this will cure all past ills caused by his leadership over the last 7 years. But be not fooled: the vague promise to separate Centuri is not necessarily a step in the right direction nor is it something he ever wanted to do. It is simply a desperate measure to somehow block our tender offer. Amazingly, SWX’s own lawyers at Morrison & Foerster recently admitted in a marketing presentation that they had been retained by SWX to advise on “bet-the-company matters” (why are people with virtually no equity stake betting our company?). In the same document, the firm boasted that no less than 23 attorneys in four different cities were working feverishly to help SWX prevent stockholders from being able to decide for themselves whether they wish to receive a significant premium for their shares by accepting our $75 per share tender offer and voting for our slate of highly qualified and independent director nominees.
Hester refuses to answer simple questions. If you are doing a separation of Centuri, is the ~$1 billion equity raise off the table? If you care so much for stockholders, then why take 5 months to respond to unconditional billion dollar financing offers with nothing more than a questionnaire? If you care so much about doing the right thing for stockholders, then why not let stockholders decide for themselves if they wish to accept our $75 offer?
Carl C. Icahn
Additional Information and Where to Find It;
Participants in the Solicitation and Notice to Investors
SECURITY HOLDERS ARE ADVISED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT AND OTHER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE SOLICITATION OF PROXIES BY CARL C. ICAHN AND HIS AFFILIATES FROM THE STOCKHOLDERS OF SOUTHWEST GAS HOLDINGS, INC. (“SOUTHWEST GAS”) FOR USE AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS OF SOUTHWEST GAS WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION, INCLUDING INFORMATION RELATING TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN SUCH PROXY SOLICITATION. WHEN COMPLETED, A DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND A FORM OF PROXY WILL BE MAILED TO STOCKHOLDERS OF SOUTHWEST GAS AND WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE AT NO CHARGE AT THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION’S (“SEC”) WEBSITE AT HTTP://WWW.SEC.GOV. INFORMATION RELATING TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN SUCH PROXY SOLICITATION IS CONTAINED IN THE PRELIMINARY PROXY STATEMENT FILED BY ICAHN PARTNERS LP AND ITS AFFILIATES WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION ON FEBRUARY 15, 2022. EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE DISCLOSED IN THE SCHEDULE 14A, THE PARTICIPANTS HAVE NO INTEREST IN SOUTHWEST GAS. THE SOLICITATION DISCUSSED HEREIN RELATES TO THE SOLICITATION OF PROXIES FOR USE AT THE 2022 ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS OF SOUTHWEST GAS HOLDINGS.
THIS COMMUNICATION IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION, AN OFFER TO PURCHASE OR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO SELL SHARES. IEP UTILITY HOLDINGS LLC, AN AFFILIATE OF ICAHN ENTERPRISES, FILED A TENDER OFFER STATEMENT AND RELATED EXHIBITS WITH THE SEC ON OCTOBER 27, 2021. SOUTHWEST GAS FILED A SOLICITATION/ RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE TENDER OFFER WITH THE SEC ON NOVEMBER 9, 2021. STOCKHOLDERS OF SOUTHWEST GAS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO READ THE TENDER OFFER STATEMENT (INCLUDING THE RELATED EXHIBITS) AND THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT, AS THEY MAY BE AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME, BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT STOCKHOLDERS SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISION REGARDING TENDERING THEIR SHARES. THE TENDER OFFER STATEMENT (INCLUDING THE RELATED EXHIBITS) AND THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT ARE AVAILABLE AT NO CHARGE ON THE SEC’S WEBSITE AT WWW.SEC.GOV. THE TENDER OFFER STATEMENT AND OTHER DOCUMENTS THAT ARE FILED BY IEP UTLITY HOLDINGS LLC WITH THE SEC WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL STOCKHOLDERS OF SOUTHWEST GAS FREE OF CHARGE UPON REQUEST TO THE INFORMATION AGENT FOR THE TENDER OFFER. THE INFORMATION AGENT FOR THE TENDER OFFER IS HARKINS KOVLER, LLC, 3 COLUMBUS CIRCLE, 15TH FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019, TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE: +1 (800) 326-5997, EMAIL: [email protected].
Other Important Disclosure Information
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING THIS LETTER:
THIS LETTER CONTAINS OUR CURRENT VIEWS ON THE VALUE OF SOUTHWEST GAS SECURITIES AND CERTAIN ACTIONS THAT SOUTHWEST GAS’ BOARD MAY TAKE TO ENHANCE THE VALUE OF ITS SECURITIES. OUR VIEWS ARE BASED ON OUR OWN ANALYSIS OF PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION AND ASSUMPTIONS WE BELIEVE TO BE REASONABLE. THERE CAN BE NO ASSURANCE THAT THE INFORMATION WE CONSIDERED AND ANALYZED IS ACCURATE OR COMPLETE. SIMILARLY, THERE CAN BE NO ASSURANCE THAT OUR ASSUMPTIONS ARE CORRECT. SOUTHWEST GAS’ PERFORMANCE AND RESULTS MAY DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM OUR ASSUMPTIONS AND ANALYSIS.
WE HAVE NOT SOUGHT, NOR HAVE WE RECEIVED, PERMISSION FROM ANY THIRD-PARTY TO INCLUDE THEIR INFORMATION IN THIS LETTER. ANY SUCH INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED AS INDICATING THE SUPPORT OF SUCH THIRD PARTY FOR THE VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN.
OUR VIEWS AND OUR HOLDINGS COULD CHANGE AT ANY TIME. WE MAY SELL ANY OR ALL OF OUR HOLDINGS OR INCREASE OUR HOLDINGS BY PURCHASING ADDITIONAL SECURITIES. WE MAY TAKE ANY OF THESE OR OTHER ACTIONS REGARDING SOUTHWEST GAS WITHOUT UPDATING THIS LETTER OR PROVIDING ANY NOTICE WHATSOEVER OF ANY SUCH CHANGES (EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE REQUIRED BY LAW).
Certain statements contained in this letter are forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements that are predications of or indicate future events, trends, plans or objectives. Undue reliance should not be placed on such statements because, by their nature, they are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or activities and are subject to many risks and uncertainties. Due to such risks and uncertainties, actual events or results or actual performance may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of the future tense or other forward-looking words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “should,” “may,” “will,” “objective,” “projection,” “forecast,” “management believes,” “continue,” “strategy,” “position” or the negative of those terms or other variations of them or by comparable terminology.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations set forth in this letter include, among other things, the factors identified in Southwest Gas’ public filings. Such forward-looking statements should therefore be construed in light of such factors, and we are under no obligation, and expressly disclaim any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.