Perrigo link to Elan sale drives speculation

Pharma firm could be close to a deal

Shares in Elan rose yesterday as the bid talk surrounding the company took on new heat and the Citi banker leading the sale process signalled imminent movement.

Mark Shafir, who has been tasked with finding a buyer for Elan after a failed hostile bid from Royalty Pharma, told CNBC that the market should expect news "shortly".

When pressed on whether that meant in the next week or two, Mr Shafir said: “Can’t really go beyond that, you’ll be hearing from us shortly.”

His comments came as Reuters reported that US drugmaker Perrigo was preparing to table a bid, as was fellow US firm Forest Laboratories.


Some expect the takeover period to enter its closing stages next week. The news agency said the two companies were in advance stages of due diligence.

Perrigo, based in Michigan, makes own-brand pharmaceutical products and has a market capitalisation of some $12 billion. Forest is a similarly-sized drug manufacturer based in New York. Both are likely to be particularly interested in Elan’s Irish domicile, which comes with a 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate.

Elan rose 2.42 per cent to €11.072 in Dublin yesterday.

In New York the stock was trading at around $14.86, well above the $13 hostile cash bid tabled by Royalty Pharma, which Elan rejected last month.

That $6.7 billion bid failed after a four-month process, where the Dublin-based fund consistently attacked Elan over its strategy after the sale of flagship drug Tysabri to partner Biogen.

Elan ultimately batted off Royalty when shareholders backed a buyback proposal, triggering an automatic withdrawal of the bid.

Potential buyers
Elan has since put itself up for sale and has pointed to considerable interest from potential buyers.

Some speculate Royalty could yet re-enter the process, either directly or by subsequently purchasing Elan royalties from an industry buyer.

Una McCaffrey

Una McCaffrey

Una McCaffrey is an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times