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Mar 29, 2012

Roche Ups Bid for Illumina to $51 Per Share, or $6.5B

  • After two months of pursuing a purchase of Illumina for $44.50 per share, Roche is increasing its offer to $51 per share. The acquisition is now valued at about $6.53 billion. Illumina has responded by advising its stockholders to take no action at this time while it reviews Roche’s revised proposal.

    “Based on our discussions with Illumina shareholders we have seen interest to accelerate the takeover process,” says Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche. “As a result, we are increasing our offer price to $51.00 per share. Roche’s preference continues to be a negotiated transaction. We look forward to the possibility of a swift completion that offers immediate value to Illumina’s shareholders.”

    In a letter sent to Jay Flatley, Illumina’s president and CEO, on March 29, Franz B. Humer chairman of Roche said, “Our revised offer represents a 15% premium to our offer on January 25, 2012, and a substantial premium of 88% over Illumina’s closing stock price on December 21, 2011, the day before market rumors about a potential transaction between Roche and Illumina drove Illumina’s stock price significantly higher. It also represents a 34.1x multiple of Illumina’s projected forward earnings based upon analysts’ current consensus estimates for 2012.

    “If you continue to decline to negotiate with us, we will have no choice but to continue our effort to effect a transaction unilaterally,” Humer added. “However, I strongly hope that you will either agree to commence discussions with us now or remove all obstacles so that your shareholders can make their own determinations about the adequacy of our increased offer.”

    Humer had previously claimed that the company has “other options” if its hostile takeover bid to acquire Illumina proves unsuccessful. “Illumina is not the only gene sequencing company, and there are other companies making quantum leaps in this field.

    “Roche is also working on gene sequencing technologies of its own,” he further commented as Illumina shunned Roche’s initial $5.7 billion bid as “grossly inadequate.” Nonetheless, analysts believe that Illumina holds the lead in installed bases of sequencer instruments even as other companies introduce new technologies.

    On February 27, Roche extended its $44.50 per share offer until 6:00 pm ET, March 23 after failing to win over adequate shareholders. The number of shares tendered at that time amounted to 102,165 shares, and Illumina had roughly 121.4 million shares outstanding, according to filings.

    Illumina has put in place a poison pill to try and block Roche’s takeover. The company also outlined a “golden parachute” compensation plan for its executives if they lose their jobs within two years of an acquisition, according to a regulatory filing, Bloomberg reports. Flatley would be paid double his annual salary plus a bonus, stock, and other benefits valued as of January 27 at $10.7 million. Five other executives would receive benefits valued from $2.6 million to $3.2 million, Bloomberg adds.


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