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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: PHARMACEUTICALS

Hoechst, Rhone Revise Their Merger Plans

May 18, 1999| Times Wire Services

Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc revised a plan to merge and agreed to complete by November the $22-billion deal that would create the world's biggest drug maker, bringing forward by two years a process that two months ago looked as if it would collapse. Under a revised deal, Hoechst shareholders will receive three shares of Paris-based Rhone-Poulenc for every four Hoechst shares, giving the German drug maker's owners 53% of Aventis, the new company. Under the original plan, the German group would have held a 50% share. The new company will be based in Strasbourg, France, while the drug division, Aventis Pharma, will be based in Frankfurt, Germany. The changes to the original two-step, three-year merger model follow opposition from Hoechst's largest shareholder, Kuwait Petroleum Corp., which was concerned that the plan would damage its investment.

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