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Ablynx rejects Novo Nordisk’s $3.1 billion bid

Lars Fruergaard Joergensen

The Danish pharma giant’s proposal to acquire the Belgian biotech group Ablynx for EUR 28.00 per share in cash has been turned down.

This proposal is the second proposal that Novo Nordisk has made to Ablynx’s Board of Directors and represents up to approximately a 14% increase over the first proposal. Ablynx has thus so far declined to engage in any discussions. The company stated that the board had “unanimously concluded that the proposal fundamentally undervalues Ablynx and its strong prospects for continued growth”.

It is Novo’s largest takeover attempt ever and the latest proposal implies a total equity valuation of approximately EUR 2.6 billion for Ablynx and represents a premium of up to 60% over Ablynx’s share price as of 6 December 2017 of 19.12, which was the day prior to their first proposal, and up to 66% over Ablynx’s 3 month VWAP of EUR 18.39 as of 5 January 2018.

Ablynx’s main asset is Caplacizumab, a treatment for the rare blood disorder acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), and Novo said a deal offered a “compelling opportunity” to bring the drug within its own haematology business.

“The proposed transaction is attractive for Novo Nordisk and is in line with Novo Nordisk’s stated strategy to invest in its Biopharm operations. Ahead of the rapidly approaching potential EMA approval of caplacizumab, we believe now is the right time to consider a transaction that maximizes value for all of Ablynx’s stakeholders,” said Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO of Novo Nordisk.