Biogen threatens proxy fight in Facet bid

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2009 4:27 PM

Biotechnology company Biogen Idec Inc. threatened a proxy fight Tuesday to remove a majority of Facet Biotech Corp.'s directors, heating up an already volatile takeover bid.

On Thursday, Facet's board unanimously recommended that shareholders reject Biogen's $493 million, or $17.50 per share, offer. Facet reaffirmed its stance Tuesday. The bid, which was raised on Dec. 3 from an initial $14.50-per-share price, represents a premium of almost 25 percent to Facet's closing price that day. The offer will expire Wednesday.

In its most recent statement, Biogen said it is prepared to try and take over Facet's board if Facet shareholders end up tendering a majority of the company's shares before the offer expires and Facet's board still refuses to approve the deal.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Facet, which repeatedly turned down the earlier Biogen offer, said the updated $17.50-per-share offer does not reflect the value of the company. Biogen and Facet already work together on the cancer drug candidate volociximab, and the multiple sclerosis drug daclizumab, and Facet said the sweetened offer still discounts the potential value of those developing products.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen said it will allow the offer to expire on Dec. 16 if a majority of shares are not tendered.

Shares of Biogen rose 56 cents to finish at $49.43 while shares of Facet fell 31 cents to close at $16.75.