Sector News

Proxy fight survivor Stada entertains suitors for potential $3.7B buyout

February 13, 2017
Life sciences

Last year, Stada reportedly weighed a buyout to dodge the demands of an activist shareholder. Now, nearly six months after touting a proxy battle victory, it’s weighing offers—and this time may find itself at the center of a bidding war.

The German drugmaker has fielded interest from two buyers looking to swallow it whole, it said in a statement Sunday. One of those interested drugmakers is London-based Cinven, a private equity firm which is offering up €56.00 per Stada share. The other suitor remains a mystery.

Stada, for its part, is “currently weighing up its options on how to react in the best interest of the company,” it said.

It hasn’t been long since Stada and its wannabe owners last talked M&A. The company and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners held informal takeover talks on a deal worth up to €3.7 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported last May. Other private equity outfits got in touch with Stada around that time, too.

The catalyst? Activist pressure from Active Ownership Capital, which in August scored a seat on Stada’s board after ousting then-chairman Martin Abend. Stada managed to regain control of the company by installing four of its own new director picks, but that didn’t stop AOC from touting its progress as a “victory for shareholder democracy.”

As a potential buyer this time around, Cinven brings some experience in the pharma business. Stada would be just the latest in a string of generics buyouts. In 2012, it nabbed Mercury Pharma and Amdipharm, and then merged the two and sold the combo to serial buyer Concordia Healthcare.

At least one shareholder likely wishes Stada had stuck by the option to sell before the reshuffling, though. “Why wait five years instead of selling in five months?” U.S.-based rebel shareholder Guy Wyser-Pratte asked Reuters last summer.

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

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