May 13, 2016 / 4:07 PM / in 2 years

Sanofi presses on with threat to oust Medivation's board

(Reuters) - France’s Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) was moving ahead on Friday with preparations to replace Medivation Inc’s MDVN.O board of directors after the U.S. cancer drug maker refused to engage with it in sale talks based on a $9.3 billion acquisition offer.

French multinational pharmaceutical company SANOFI logo is seen at the headquarters in Paris, France, March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Sanofi could unveil a slate of nominees to replace Medivation’s board as early as this month, people familiar with the matter said, in line with a threat it made in a May 4 letter to the company that reiterated its acquisition proposal.

Medivation has signed non-disclosure agreements to share confidential information with other pharmaceutical companies interested in an acquisition, including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Amgen Inc (AMGN.O), sources told Reuters on Monday.

However, Medivation will not engage in sale talks with Sanofi unless the latter raises its $52.50 per share cash offer, the people said. Sanofi has said it is willing to raise its offer only after Medivation engages in talks. Medivation shares were trading at $61.43 in New York on Friday.

Sanofi this week added Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) as a financial advisor, while continuing to receive advice from Morgan Stanley (MS.N), the people said. Goldman also has a close relationship with Pfizer, having advised it on many deals, including its abandoned $160 billion acquisition of Allergan Plc (AGN.N).

Pfizer on Friday continued to work with advice from investment banks on a possible bid for Medivation, though there is no certainty such an offer would be submitted, some of the sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Sanofi, Medivation, Goldman Sachs and Pfizer declined to comment.

Sanofi is vying for Medivation in an attempt to expand in the lucrative oncology sector, as it struggles to compensate for declining revenues from a key diabetes drug that recently lost patent protection.

Should Medivation agree to a sale, it would mark a bittersweet moment for Chief Executive David Hung, who founded the company in 2003. In 13 years, he built Medivation from a penny stock peddling a 20-year-old Russian treatment for hay fever into a $10 billion market capitalization oncology company.

In the process, he overcame numerous obstacles, including the failure of Alzheimer’s treatment Dimebon, which used to be sold as an antihistamine in Russia. In 2009, Hung took a bet on a chemical compound called MDV3100, which was developed at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In partnership with Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc (4503.T), Medivation turned MDV3100 into a nearly $2 billion prostate cancer drug called Xtandi.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Lauren Hirsch in New York; Additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia and Ben Hirschler in London

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