Having acquired a majority stake in Ranbaxy, Daiichi Sankyo has made a bid to acquire 20% of the Indian drugmaker’s Zenotech Laboratories unit, but the price being offered is considerably lower than had been originally expected.

As part of the agreement to acquire a 63.9% holding in Ranbaxy, the Japanese firm had also agreed to buy the aforementioned stake in Zenotech, which specialises in biopharmaceutical generics. It has now launched an open offer to acquire 20% of Zenotech (in which Ranbaxy had a 47% stake) at 113.62 rupees per share.

Daiichi Sankyo will buy up to 6.9 million shares, which will cost about $16 million. However the price it is offering fails well short of what Zenotech expected to get, ie 160 rupees per share.

The latter’s managing director, Jayaram Chigurupati, said that Daiichi Sankyo’s board “should know that the agreement to offer 160 rupees was reached way back in July, 2008”. As a result of that deal, two lawsuits filed by Zenotech shareholders in the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking to halt Daiichi Sankyo’s acquisition of Ranbaxy were withdrawn, he claimed.

“In fact, this was the agreement until the midnight of January 15”, Dr Chigurupati added, and “for reasons best know to Daiichi Sankyo, the offer was withdrawn at the very last minute”. He called for Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to review the situation, saying that "I hope SEBI does not turn a blind eye to the minority shareholders of Zenotech".

However, Daiichi Sankyo has said that no such agreement was entered into and the company has no plans to change the offer price.