Offer was initially made privately to Alpharma’s board and rejected.

King Pharmaceuticals is publicly reiterating its interest in taking over Alpharma for about $1.4 billion in cash after its initial bid was declined. Alpharma’s stock shot up from $24.04 to open the day at $33.5, already above King’s $33 per share buyout price.

“In light of the fact that the Alpharma board declined this proposal, we think it is important for the stockholders of both companies to be aware of this exciting opportunity. It remains our strong preference to work cooperatively with Alpharma regarding this proposal,” says Brian A. Markison, chairman, president, and CEO of King.

Alpharma wasn’t immediately available to comment on why the offer was declined or what the company will do from here.

King initially sent a letter to Alpharma’s president and CEO, Dean J. Mitchell, and its board of directors on August 4, expressing its interest in acquiring the company. At the time, the $33 per share offer represented a 49% premium over the firm’s closing price the day before. With the offer made public today, Alpharma’s stock has hit an eight-year high.

“The transaction would create a diversified specialty pharmaceutical company with greater commercialization capabilities, an expanded portfolio of pain-management products, and a strengthened pipeline that would include multiple platform technologies,” points out Markison.

“Importantly, it would also further diversify King’s business with an additional source of steady cash flow from Alpharma’s animal health division, a leading feed additives business.”

King believes this proposed combination could receive all necessary regulatory approvals and be completed by the end of 2008.

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