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Sun Pharmaceutical extends offer to buy Taro stake

This article was posted on Mar 21, 2009 and is filed under Stock News

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, which is attempting a hostile takeover of Israel-based Taro Pharmaceutical, extended the tender offer to acquire the remaining stake in the drug maker to April 3, as it launched a fresh round of negotiations to settle the differences out-of-the-court.

“The mediation process with Levitt and Moros families, initiated at the behest of Supreme Court recommendation, is ongoing,” said a Sun Pharma official, declining to disclose further details.

Independent sources said the negotiations were mainly on revised price at which Sun Pharma could buy out the shares of the promoters. Sun Pharma is attempting to acquire the remaining 64 per cent stake of promoters Levitt and Moros families and other shareholders in Taro.

Taro Pharmaceutical, one of the largest generic companies operating in the US market, had demanded a 58 per cent premium, or $15 per share, in cash to effect a merger with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries. However, Sun Pharma rejected the offer citing it was beyond the worth of Taro, which did not disclose audited results for three years and restated accounts.

Sun’s offer was a maximum of $9.50 per share with two options. Thus the earlier rounds of discussions had failed and both parties demanded the Court to give a verdict. However, the court directed Sun Pharma and Taro to re-negotiate through a mediator. Sun’s tender offer is at a price of $7.5 per share.

Sun Pharma managing director Dilip Shanghvi and Taro chairman Barrie Levitt met in Israel last month to discuss a compromise in the presence of advocate Ram Caspi, who is mediating the discussion, Israeli newspapers had reported a few weeks ago.

The tender offer, which was triggered by Sun Pharma in June, last year following the failure of a merger agreement, was to expire on March 20. Sun Pharma said the offer would expire on April 3, unless further extended or earlier terminated. The offer was extended to comply with an order issued by the Supreme Court of Israel temporarily prohibiting the closing of the offer until the Supreme Court issues a decision on the appeal. Taro and its directors had challenged the applicability of the special tender offer rules under the Israeli Companies Law to the offer.

The Israeli company backed out from a $454 million merger deal signed in May 2007, citing that the fortunes of the company turned around since the merger plan. Following this, Sun Pharma sued Taro in the Supreme Court of New York court for breaching the agreement, while Taro challenged the validity of the tender offer in Israel courts.

source: Business-Standard

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