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ICN Files Documents for Foreign Unit IPO

Pharmaceuticals: The Costa Mesa drug maker takes steps to sell 40% of its overseas business as part of a plan to split into three firms.

March 23, 2001|From Dow Jones Newswires

ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s international unit filed initial stock offering documents in London and Budapest, part of the Costa Mesa drug maker's plan to split the company into three publicly traded entities.

ICN plans to sell up to 40% of the ICN International unit in an initial public offering scheduled for the second quarter. ICN International is being reorganized to include ICN's operations in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia, Africa and Australia.

The international unit's shares will be listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange, and depositary receipts representing shares of the company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Earlier this month, ICN Pharmaceuticals moved to double the portion of its international business being sold to the public to 40% from 20%, in an attempt to appease shareholders dissatisfied with the company's valuation.

In recent months, two dissident shareholders have pressured ICN Chief Executive Milan Panic to move more quickly to split ICN into three public companies.

Under the plan, initially unveiled in October, ICN would split into Ribapharm Inc., ICN Americas and ICN International.

Ribapharm would own the rights to ICN's top-selling product, the hepatitis drug ribavirin. ICN Americas would assume control of some ICN operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Latin America.

ICN Pharmaceuticals shares closed Wednesday at $21.60, off $1.04, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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