Life Sciences Research (LSR), the company set up in 2001 to enable the relocation of Huntingdon Life Sciences to the US following a crippling protest campaign against the UK-based animal testing business, has received a non-binding proposal from its chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Andrew Baker, to acquire all of the outstanding LSR shares for US$7.50 per share.

LSR’s common stock closed at US$4.79 per share on 3 March, the day Baker made his offer. In a letter setting out the proposal, Baker said he had started exploring potential sources of finance and “while he is confident that he will be able to secure the requisite financing for the proposal, there can be no assurance of success”, the company noted.

The LSR board has established a special committee of independent directors to act on the company’s behalf in considering the proposal and “other strategic alternatives”. This process is only in its early stages and “consequently no decisions have been made by the special committee of the Board in respect of LSR’s response, if any, to the proposal”, the company stated.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph last January, Baker wants to transfer the company’s headquarters back to the UK, where violent animal rights activism has been on the wane of late.

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) was forced overseas to the US after a sustained campaign of intimidation persuaded the Royal Bank of Scotland to sever its ties with the company. None of the other leading UK banks wanted to step into the breach and eventually the Bank of England took over HLS’ finances.

More recently LSR has been feeling the pinch of the global economic downturn, which has hit preclinical research services particularly hard. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the company’s revenues dropped by 19.1% year on year to US$51.3 million and its operating income dived 30.1% to US$6.68 million.