Swiss biotech firm Actelion Pharmaceuticals (VTX:ATLN) reportedly rejected Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) 2nd takeover offer, sending it shares down -6% in afternoon trading yesterday. The 2 companies have been engaged in informal talks for 2 months, according to Reuters, and the latest offer was pegged at 250 Swiss francs per share.
J&J’s $270 billion bid for Actelion tempted shareholders, who would rather have the cash now than wait and bet on Actelion CEO Jean-Paul Clozel’s risky pipeline of therapeutics for rare diseases, 1 investor told the news service.
“If I look at the (drugs) pipeline that Mr. Clozel is excited about, I am perhaps less excited about it and see perhaps a greater risk than reward,” Union Bancaire Privee fund manager Eleanor Taylor Jolidon told Reuters. Union Bancaire Privee is among the top 40 investors in Actelion and holds 0.23% of outstanding shares.
Jolidon said than an offer of 250 francs per share would be very enticing and that if Clozel rejected the bid, then “he would have a lot of explaining to do.”
Clozel, 1 of the firm’s co-founders, has always made efforts to keep the company independent. In 2011, he rallied shareholders against an investor’s campaign to put the firm up for sale and then rejected a takeover interest from British drugmaker Shire in 2015.
J&J was hoping for a straightforward takeover of the company, but Actelion wanted J&J to instead become a major shareholder in a new entity.
Actelion shares soared on Friday after news of the initial offer broke, up +19% to a peak of 187.70 Swiss francs, which put the company at a value of $20 billion. This week, following news that Actelion declined J&J’s 2nd offer, its shares dropped -6%. Today, ATLN shares were trading at $198.30 in mid-morning activity, up +1.2%.