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ICN Raises Its Offer for Ribapharm

The takeover will move ahead once two-thirds of shares outstanding are tendered, the firms say.

August 05, 2003|From Reuters

ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Monday raised to $187.5 million its offer for the shares in Ribapharm Inc. it doesn't already own in a move to reverse its partial spinoff of the biotech unit.

ICN sweetened its bid 11.6% to $6.25 a share and extended the offer until Aug. 19. Ribapharm said that the new offer was still inadequate, but that if enough shareholders accept it, the company would not stand in the way.

ICN, which still owns about 80% of Ribapharm, said 53% of the remaining shares have been tendered to its offer. The takeover will move ahead once two-thirds of shares outstanding are handed in, the companies said.

Both companies are based in Costa Mesa.

Ribapharm said shareholders should reject the latest offer, but the company backed off a so-called poison pill that threatened to make the takeover more expensive.

Daniel Paracka, Ribapharm's chairman, said the board believed the threshold of two-thirds acceptance of the new offer would show whether shareholders find the deal acceptable.

Ribapharm shares jumped nearly 21%, or $1.06, to $6.18 on the New York Stock Exchange. ICN rose 67 cents to $15.97.

Bringing Ribapharm back in house is part of ICN's restructuring after the 2002 retirement of founder Milan Panic, who received a $33-million bonus in connection with the partial spinoff. Last August, ICN booked a one-time gain of $262.9 million from the April 2002 initial public offering of Ribapharm.

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