Elliott Won't Change Mind On Pharma. Merger

Jan 2 2014 | 11:48am ET

Elliott Management still has a week to tender its shares in pharmaceutical distributor Celesio, a move that would ensure that rival McKesson's US$8.3 billion offer for the company would succeed. But the activist hedge fund had no early Christmas presents for McKesson.

Elliott, which first announced its plans to block the merger earlier last month, reiterated its opposition on Dec. 23. "To be absolutely clear, Elliott's final, binding decision is not to accept McKesson's offer on its current terms."

The New York-based hedge fund made the statement following "reports suggesting that it will change its mind and accept McKesson's offer."

"These reports are categorically incorrect," Elliott said.

The hedge fund owns about 22.7% of Celesio's diluted stock, which should enable it to block the deal; McKesson has set a 75% hurdle for the merger to go through. It has said that the current price does not offer "fair compensation to all Celesio shareholders and bondholders," and has suggested splitting Celesio by selling its wholesale and pharmacy businesses separately.

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