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French Drug Firm Makes Bid for Robins

December 18, 1987|Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — A. H. Robins Co. said Thursday that it has received a new buyout proposal from Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical firm.

Sanofi, a unit of Paris-based petroleum giant Elf Aquitaine, has offered to provide funding to meet Robins' court-ordered obligation to provide $2.5 billion for women injured by the Dalkon Shield.

Under the proposal, Sanofi also would seek the right to acquire a controlling interest in Robins, the company said.

Robins, which has already received a proposal to merge with Rorer Group Inc., said its directors had instructed management and its financial advisers to consider the proposal.

Meanwhile, Robins' attorneys were told Thursday that they have until Dec. 28 to revise the company's bankruptcy reorganization plan to include the $2.5 billion in compensation.

U.S. District Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr. set the new deadline to give Robins time to adjust its initial reorganization plan submitted last summer.

The Robins plan had called for providing $1.75 billion for claims against the intrauterine birth control device, which the company sold in the early 1970s. But Merhige said $2.5 billion was needed.

A Robins spokesman would not say how the revision might affect the company's proposed merger with Rorer, a suburban Philadelphia pharmaceutical manufacturer.

"It's obviously going to have to be restructured," Robins spokesman Roscoe Puckett said of the proposed merger, which had been valued at $2.65 billion.

But Stanley K. Joynes, an attorney for future claimants, said there was no indication that Rorer wanted to back out of the merger, despite the increased claims figure.

Joynes said Robins might have other corporate suitors.

The Richmond-based Robins filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws in August, 1985, amid mounting injury claims against its IUD.

Attorneys in the long-running case have said it could take another year before the reorganization gets final approval and up to seven years before all Dalkon Shield claims are paid.

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