Cigna logo on building While heacknowledged he faced an uphill battle to block the deal, Icahnargued that Cigna investors should vote against it, based in parton the threat posed by Inc. to Express Scripts's future.(Photo: AP)

Activist investor Carl Icahn has dropped his fight to block Cigna Corp.'s $54 billionacquisition of Express Scripts Holding Co.after two prominent shareholder advisory firms came out in supportof the deal.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis &Co. last week urged Cigna's investors to support the takeover,saying it made sense from a financial and strategic perspective. Icahn had opposed thedeal, saying it would be a “travesty” if it were to proceed. Hesought to block the deal in a proxy fight ahead of a shareholdervote set for Aug. 24.

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