Credit crisis advantage?
The credit crisis may just be the leverage Roche needs in its bid for Genentech.
The Swiss drug maker went hostile with its bid to buy the 44 percent of Genentech it doesn’t already own. But in a rather unusual move, it has gone to shareholders with an offer that is actually lower than the $44 billion bid it initially made for the U.S. biotech group.
Investors now have a public tender offer at $86.50 per share in cash, valuing the deal at $42 billion, down from $89 per share earlier.
After the initial announcement in July, Genentech shares rose to a high of $99.05, but later fell back below the offer price as the credit crisis bit, giving Roche the leeway to lower its bid.
Roche had initially aimed to acquire the remaining shares through a negotiated settlement — an offer rejected by Genentech — and decided to appeal directly to shareholders after further talks failed to reach an agreement.
Genentech could have been trying to delay the process until key clinical data on its blockbuster cancer drug Avastin due in April — when positive results could drive up the company’s value, analysts said.
DEALS OF THE DAY
** Toshiba is in talks to merge part of its chip operations with NEC Corp’s semiconductor unit, a source said, as a sharp global slowdown forces Japanese chip makers to cut jobs and try to band together.
** India’s Spice Group is ready to invest about 20 billion rupees ($408 million) in Satyam Computer Services and wants to buy a 51 percent stake in the fraud-scarred outsourcer, Spice Chairman B.K. Modi said.
** Satyam said asset manager Fidelity Investments had raised its holding to 6.79 percent in the Indian outsourcer, which would potentially make it the second largest stakeholder.
** Commodities firm Noble Group and Indonesian coal miner PT Indika Energy are among the companies pursuing a bid for Straits Asia Resources, according to sources familiar with the matter, in a deal that could be worth more than $800 million.
** Billionaire Alisher Usmanov sold his majority stake in a gigantic gas deposit to the banking arm of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, taking its share in the field to 100 percent, a paper said.
** Anglo-Australian fund manager Henderson Group unveiled a 115 million pounds ($162.3 million) offer for struggling rival New Star Asset Management.
** U.S. diagnostics firm Gen-Probe announced a recommended offer to buy British testing company Tepnel for $132.2 million in cash.
** Hospital chain Fortis Healthcare said it acquired a majority stake in Bangalore-based Apollo RM Hospital, widening its presence in south India.
(Photo: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)