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Innoviva prevails in proxy fight against activist Sarissa-source

NEW YORK, April 20 Shareholders of Innoviva Inc. handed a narrow victory to the U.S. respiratory drug company, voting in its three directors after fending off nominees from activist hedge fund Sarissa Capital, according to a source close to the matter.

In a dramatic turn that played out late until Wednesday night, the two sides nearly agreed to avoid the vote through a settlement but the company bowed out of the plan at the last minute when it became clearer that it may win all three seats . The source said a settlement would have added two of Sarissa's director nominees to the board.

Innoviva and Sarissa were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Michael Flaherty; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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