Pliva reiterates approval of Barr's $2.3 bln bid

In Hungary

The board of Pliva d.d., considering rival $2.3 billion bids by Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Actavis Group hf, reiterated its approval of Barr's offer, saying it reflects „fair value” for the Croatian company. Pliva's board first endorsed Barr's bid of 755 kuna per share, which includes a 12-kuna dividend, in late June. Barr's offer „represents an attractive long-term development perspective,” Pliva's supervisory board said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. „Barr has stated that Pliva should be the center of Barr Group for its business operations in Europe as well as that Pliva's registered office and production shall remain in the republic of Croatia.” The winning bidder for Pliva will become the world's third-biggest generic-drug maker, behind Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Switzerland's Novartis AG. Actavis's last publicly stated offer to investors was 735 kuna per share, slightly less than Barr's offer. Yesterday's statement, which Pliva was required to issue under Croatian law, echoed the board's original June 27 endorsement of Barr's bid.

A Barr takeover would enable Pliva to expand its production, take on more employees and improve its regional distribution network, the statement said. „Barr has highlighted its readiness to financially support Pliva's investments in research” and „intends to preserve and protect the Pliva brand,” the statement said. Actavis spokesman Halldor Kristmannsson said his company views yesterday's statement from Pliva's board as little more than a legal formality. „When HANFA approves our bid, they'll have to do the same thing for us,” he said. Kristmannsson also pointed out that Pliva's investors appear to be waiting for Actavis to publish its bid before deciding to whom they'll sell their shares. Average daily trading volumes in Pliva shares have been about 30% of the past year's daily average since Barr began buying last week. Actavis will not reveal how much it bid for Pliva until HANFA formally approves its bid for publication. Croatian analysts, such as Hrvoje Stojic at Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank in Zagreb, expect the approval to come later this week. (Bloomberg)

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