Healthcare Business

Salix Now Has 2 Merger Dance Partners

The merger situation around Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: SLXP) just became much more complicated. Endo International PLC (NASDAQ: ENDP) has made a bid for Salix in a private letter sent to the board of directors. The offer was reportedly for roughly $175 per share. According to CNBC’s David Faber, the deal will consist of 25% in cash and the remainder will be in stock.

Where this merger gets interesting is that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) has an existing offer of $10.1 billion for Salix, made in February. Previously, Valeant had made a takeover bid as well for less than what was reported. Valeant made an offer coming out to $158 per share, and the transaction would be entirely in cash.

The acquisition by Valeant was expected to yield over $500 million in annual cost savings within six months.

Even prior to the Valeant offer, Salix was pursued by Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) last year and had actually been close to a deal. At that time Allergan walked away from the deal, and Allergan was instead bought by Actavis PLC (NYSE: ACT).

Following this, both Endo and Valeant were pursuing Salix. Some reports signaled that Endo made an offer that came up short of Valeant’s offer of $158. By the looks of it, Endo may get the last laugh if this transaction is confirmed by the companies.

Salix is known for producing and marketing prescription drugs and medical devices that treat various gastrointestinal diseases in the United States.

Shares of Endo and Salix were both halted for news pending. Endo’s stock was down 1% at $88.02 Wednesday afternoon, following the announcement of the deal. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $92.41 and a 52-week trading range of $53.62 to $92.79. Endo has a market cap of over $15 billion. Salix shares were up 6.5% at $167.82. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $155.54 and a 52-week trading range of $86.00 to $172.98. The company has a market cap of nearly $11 billion.

Valeant shares recoiled at the new offer to Salix and fell 4%, at $193.18 on a 52-week trading range of $106.00 to $206.84. Valeant has the largest market cap out of this group at about $65 billion, this extra cap space might allow this giant to be more flexible with its finances and make another counter offer.

Some mergers just cannot remain simple. That is becoming the norm in biotech and in pharma mergers.

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