Running a pharmaceutical company from the clink may seem like more work than it’s worth, but a Pharma Bro’s gotta do what a Pharma Bro’s gotta do. Which is why a group of shareholders is attempting to wrestle control from sleazy hedge fund manager-turned-sleazy pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. federal inmate number 87850-053, who is doing just that.
Shkreli made a run for the title of World’s Biggest A**hole when he raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat patients with life-threatening parasitic infections, from $13.50 a pop to $750 per pill overnight — yet that’s not even what he’s in jail for. Regardless, as The New York Times reports, former Shkreli ally Kevin Mulleady is attempting to “persuade his fellow shareholders to give them control of [the makers of Daraprim’s] parent company, Phoenixus.” The reason? Shkreli, who is currently behind bars in a federal prison for securities fraud and is not up for release until late 2023, still owns nearly half the company.
According to The New York Times:
“Although Mr. Shkreli is incarcerated at a federal prison in central Pennsylvania, he is legally allowed to vote his shares in Phoenixus, worth roughly 44 percent of the company. He has kept his stake despite being ordered as part of his sentencing in 2018 to forfeit nearly $7.4 million, including his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album and a Picasso painting.”
Yes, you read that correctly: Of the many prized possessions Shkreli had seized and sold by the U.S. government in order to pay off the $7.4 million he owes to the courts, the sole copy of Wu-Tang’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin — which Shkreli paid $2 million for — is at the top of the list.
As far back as 2019, it was being reported that Shkreli was still wielding a large amount of influence over the company he went to jail with the use of a contraband cell phone. Now, shareholders who are fed up with having a convict have such a large say in how the company operates are opting to sever as many ties to Shkreli as possible. The attempt to oust the disgraced pharmaceutical exec will happen on Monday — though they’ve got a backup plan.
“If the activist investors lose the vote, they plan to call for another special shareholder vote. Mr. Shkreli’s shares are in a sort of legal limbo, with a creditor of another Shkreli company fighting to have them taken away and sold. At a hearing last week in that case, the judge granted a request to appoint a receiver to take Mr. Shkreli’s shares, with the aim of selling them to pay off debts.”
Which, frankly, might hurt less than having a government agency sell off the one-and-only copy of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.
(Via The New York Times)