Drug Firm Rejects $3.13 Billion Offer From Novo Nordisk -- WSJ

By Dominic ChoppingFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (January 9, 2018).

Denmark's Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVO-B.KO) said Monday that Belgian biopharmaceutical company Ablynx NV (ABLX) has rejected its 2.6 billion-euro takeover bid and declined to engage in any discussions on the approach.

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The proposal represents a 66% premium over Ablynx's three-month volume-weighted average price of EUR18.39 as of Jan. 5, and comprises EUR28 in cash for each share plus one contingent value right with total potential cash payments over time of up to EUR2.50 a share.

The proposal was made Dec. 22 and represented Novo Nordisk's second attempt after the EUR26.75 cash bid that it made Dec. 7. Both approaches have been rejected by the Ablynx board and Novo Nordisk said that it has made a number of attempts to engage in talks, but that these have also been spurned.

Novo Nordisk Chief Executive Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen spoke to his counterpart at Ablynx, Edwin Moses, on Jan. 5 to encourage talks around key value drivers, but said that "unfortunately, this offer was again refused by the Board of Directors of Ablynx."

Novo Nordisk is keen to conclude a deal, believing that Ablynx's caplacizumab drug to treat thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura--a rare blood disorder--would be a strong addition to its hematology franchise.

"The proposed transaction would combine Novo Nordisk's regulatory, scientific and commercial expertise with Ablynx's strong existing medical teams to optimise the development and global commercialisation of caplacizumab," the Danish company said in a statement.

There can be no assurance that any agreement will be reached between the two companies, but Novo Nordisk said that it encourages Ablynx to engage in a negotiated transaction for the benefit of all stakeholders.

It said that should any deal be struck, it would keep Ablynx's strong research-and-development base within Ghent, Belgium, and further develop Ablynx as a center of excellence in nanobody discovery and engineering.

-Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com; Twitter: @domchopping @WSJNordics

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 09, 2018 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)