Novartis remains committed to Chiron purchase
22 December 2005 00:00 in Company restructures
French drug firm Novartis has said that it is still committed to the purchase of vaccine company Chiron's remaining shares, despite claims that its bid is too low.
The company said that the merger agreement signed between the two companies on October 30th would be completed. Novartis had agreed to purchase the 56 per cent of Chiron which it does not own.
It also defended its decision to offer Chiron shareholders $45 a share. One investor told the San Francisco Examiner that it would vote against the merger, saying that it was "tantamount to stealing the company".
A spokesperson for ValueAct Capital, which owns five per cent of Chiron, said: "Thanks to its position on Chiron's board, Novartis had access to insider information which clearly indicated - to them but to no other public shareholder - that Chiron was worth far more than its depressed market price at the time of the initial Novartis offer."
But Novartis insists that the offer is "fair" and added in a statement that: "[Novartis] is confident that, after Chiron's shareholders review the definitive proxy statement when it becomes available, shareholders representing a majority of Chiron's public shares will agree with the recommendation of Chiron's independent directors".
The companies are now awaiting regulatory and shareholder approval.© Adfero Ltd
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