Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc (PMI) has clinched a ￡1 billion (US$1.38 billion) takeover of inhaler maker Vectura Group PLC after winning the backing of about 75 percent of the British company’s shareholders.
Vectura shareholders had until Wednesday to decide whether to support the ￡1.65 per share bid from Philip Morris, which sought to buy the London-listed asthma drug maker as part of its plan to go “smoke-free” and switch to healthcare and wellness products.
“We have reached an important milestone in our acquisition of Vectura and are pleased to have secured over 74 percent of the company’s shares, in excess of the 50 percent required to make our offer unconditional and PMI the majority shareholder,” CEO Jacek Olczak said in a statement yesterday.
PMI had received the shares from shareholders through a public tender offer process, and the cigarette maker’s offer for Vectura can no longer be withdrawn.
PMI, which fought off private equity firm Carlyle Group for the buyout of Vectura, had switched its proposal to a takeover offer from a so-called scheme of arrangement to raise its chances.
The switch allowed PMI to require the support of holders of slightly more than 50 percent of Vectura shares for the deal to go through.
While PMI has received regulatory clearances for the deal and won the backing of Vectura’s board, health groups are questioning the idea of a tobacco company making money from treating the very illnesses that cigarettes cause.
Olczak said that PMI would provide Vectura’s scientists with the resources and expertise to reach a target of at least US$1 billion in net revenue from its Beyond Nicotine products by 2025.
The US-based company has also extended the deadline to Sept. 30 for the remaining Vectura shareholders to tender their shares.
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