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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Icahn launches offer for Southwest Gas shares, seeks to replace board

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(Corrects spelling of Icahn in headline)

Oct 14 (Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn said on Thursday he plans to start a tender offer for shares in Southwest Gas Holdings Inc and launch a proxy battle to replace the directors on the gas distribution company's board.

Icahn's move comes days after the company adopted a shareholder rights plan to thwart a push by the investor to abandon Southwest Gas' potential $2 billion deal to buy Questar Pipelines.

Icahn Enterprises intends to initiate a tender offer for outstanding shares of Southwest at $75.00 per share in cash, it said in an open letter https://bit.ly/3vcCZ0Y to company shareholders.

It will also commence a proxy contest to elect a full slate of directors at the 2022 annual meeting of the company's stockholders, according to the letter.

Southwest Gas did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The company had earlier this month agreed to acquire Questar Pipeline Co, a gas transportation and storage business owned by Dominion Energy Inc, in an all-cash transaction.

Carl Icahn, who holds a significant stake in Southwest Gas, has since been pushing the company to abandon the potential acquisition and instead focus on improving its share price.

Icahn said earlier this month that Southwest Gas was trading below its peers, with financial performance held back by high expenses and a poor relationship with regulators. Icahn also questioned whether the company's board could hold management accountable, since many directors have been in place for over a decade.

Southwest said Questar would provide "significant financial and strategic benefits to our company, shareholders, employees and partners". (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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