Johnson & Johnson, Crucell biotech announce takeover

6th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pharmaceutical and health care giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to buy 82.1 percent of Dutch vaccine maker Crucell for about 1.75 billion euros, the two firms announced on Wednesday.

Payment, in cash for the equivalent of about 2.4 billion dollars, would be made by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that already owns 17.9 percent of the biotechnology firm, they said in a statement.

The head of pharmaceutical research at Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels, said: "This potential combination would provide us with a new platform for growth and advances our goal to deliver integrated health care solutions, with particular emphasis on prevention."

The price represents 24.75 euros per share, and a premium of 58 percent from the price on September 16, the day before the two groups revealed that they were in advanced talks. The price represents a premium of 63 percent on the average price in the previous 30 days.

Crucell, which employs 1,300 people, produced more than 115 million doses of vaccine last year for distribution in about 100 countries, mostly developing countries.

Johnson & Johnson, which employs 114,000 people, said it intended to retain Crucell's management and staff and to keep the headquarters at Leiden in the western Netherlands.

The statement said the agreement enjoyed the unanimous support of Crucell's supervisory board and management board, but had yet to be approved by shareholders.

Johnson & Johnson's board of directors has also approved the proposed transaction, expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

But Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd, Crucell's third biggest shareholder with about four percent of capital, warned Wednesday that it "does not wish to bring the champagne out too soon", its spokesman Jack Jonk told AFP

"It is clear that we would like more than 24.75 euros per share, we will negotiate."

By lunchtime, news of the deal had pushed Crucell's share value up 0.63 percent to 24.70 euros on the AMX index of the Amsterdam stock exchange.

© 2010 AFP

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