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October 3, 2013
Astex Gets Bought - At a Higher Price?
This could get interesting: the deal that would have Otsuka buying Astex might be unraveling a bit. Here's what an investment fund with a stake in the matter has to say about it:
We are one of Astex's largest shareholders, owning approximately 5% of the outstanding shares of the company. We believe the recently announced merger transaction with Otsuka Pharmaceutical significantly undervalues Astex and therefore we do not intend to tender our shares.
It seems clear to us from both analyst commentary and press reports in response to the announcement of the Otsuka transaction that many shareholders concur with our view of the valuation of Astex and perhaps share our concerns about both the timing of the auction process and the manner in which it was conducted. With regard to timing, Astex's recent report on August 28th of clinical data on SGI-110, the company's second-generation DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, suggested the promise of the drug. However, it is the clinical studies to be reported in December 2013 and in 2014 that could most definitively illustrate the value the drug will confer to Astex. The fact that Astex is trying to consummate the sale process before these data are available is inexplicable and disturbing. . .
They go on to say some very unkind things about the bidding process and the incentives for Astex's senior management. Now, these folks are, of course, trying to get the most that they possibly can for their Astex shares (that's their job). So they might be trying to get Otsuka to crank up their offer, and if they can recruit enough other large shareholders to the effort, they might be able to do it. We'll see if that talk of other people not liking the bid turns out to be real.
Thanks to @AndyBiotech on Twitter for the tip.
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