NEW YORK — Sterling Drug Inc. has launched a major offensive to get government help in warding off a hostile $4.4-billion takeover bid from Swiss pharmaceutical giant F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co. and is using the specter of a wave of foreign acquisitions as ammunition.
Sterling is not the first takeover target to seek help from powerful allies, but its request for government intervention could be significant in a year that foreign takeovers of U.S. corporations are expected to surge.
"I think this takeover raises issues that should be considered by the Congress and the Administration, and I am asking that the takeover be stopped until there has been an opportunity to address those issues," House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) wrote Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III.
At Sterling's request, a number of congressmen have asked Meese, Secretary of State George Shultz, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman David S. Ruder and other top Administration officials to scrutinize the takeover or intervene on the company's behalf.