Genentech “disappointed” at Roche’s hostile action

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Genentech Stock market Takeover

Roche has stepped up its pursuit of Genentech, launching a hostile bid of $42bn after growing frustrated with the lack of progress over the past six months.

The revised sum, which has been cut from the previous offer of $44bn, has been put to minority shareholders in an attempt to get the takeover back on track.

However, Genentech has urged shareholders to take no action, with the company’s special takeover committee promising to announce its formal position within the next week.

The outcome of this is unclear but it appears Roche’s bid has annoyed Genentech and to some extent soured relations between the two companies.

Charles Sanders, the chairman of Genentech’s special takeover committee, outlined the biotech’s position, saying it: “is disappointed that Roche has taken this unilateral and opportunistic step in an attempt to take advantage of current market conditions​.”

It seems unfeasible that Roche expected its action to be welcomed by Genentech but with negotiations dragging on it evidently felt a hostile bid was necessary.

Franz Humer, chairman of the Roche Group, said: “We are disappointed that the discussions over the last six months between Roche and the special committee of Genentech have not produced a negotiated agreement​.

We feel it is now time to give the Genentech minority shareholders the opportunity to decide on our offer. Especially in the current market environment the offer provides an opportunity for all public shareholders to achieve liquidity and to receive a fair price for all their shares​."

Genentech’s response suggests that it is unimpressed by Roche’s latest offer but the possibility remains that shareholders facing an uncertain financial climate will decide to cash in.

However, OrbiMed Advisors, which has shares amounting to around 0.3 per cent of the company, has said it will not accept the latest offer.

There is also the belief that Genentech’s value could rise in April if the company posts successful Phase III results for use of Avastin in treating early-stage colon cancer.

This could push Genentech’s share price above $90 but may also scupper Roche’s takeover plans, with credit difficulties and other factors meaning the pharma is unlikely to bid that high.

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