Scottish Diagnostic Devices Firm Axis-Shield agrees to £235m Alere Takeover

HealthInvestor reports that Diagnostics firm Axis-Shield has ended months of resistance to a takeover from US rival Alere by recommending that shareholders accept a revised £235 million offer.

Alere, which last week increased its shareholding in Axis-Shield to 30%, today made an offer of 470 pence per share for the Scotland-based company, a ten pence increase on the first bid submitted in July.

Axis-Shield’s board said that while it still felt the offer fundamentally undervalues the business, it had no choice but to recommend it to shareholders.

The board noted that in light of the “ongoing volatile economic and market backdrop”, it was likely that enough shareholders would accept the offer over and above Alere’s revised acceptance condition of 50%, announced last month.

This, the board added, had heightened the risk that the number of Axis-Shield shares held in public hands would fall below the listing eligibility threshold of 25%, which would force the company to delist from the London Stock Exchange.

“In the event that Axis-Shield’s listing is cancelled, Axis-Shield shareholders who have not accepted the revised offer by its closure will own shares in an unlisted company controlled by Alere,” said the statement.

Alere has been interested in acquiring Axis-Shield’s point-of-care technology, which complements its own portable diagnostic products. The company originally bid 460 pence per share for the company in July. The share price has risen by about 34% since Alere first revealed its interest.

Brewin Dolphin analyst Chris Glasper told Reuters he felt the revised offer was still “fairly measly”.

“Given current market turmoil, it’s probably played into Alere’s hands. Good deal for Alere, bad deal for UK shareholders,” he said.

Axis-Shield shareholders have until 24 October to accept the offer.
Source: HealthInvestor