A bullish sentiment from Roche this week, which says it remains confident it will succeed in its $3 billion hostile bid for the US biotechnology company Ventana. Franz Humer, the Swiss giant’s chief executive, told the Financial Times in an interview that hedge funds have already snapped up stock belonging to major shareholders and that he has “no intention” of upping the $75 a share offer for the firm.
But reluctant bride Ventana has consistently countered the bid, saying the $75 a share offer - which comes to a close on November 1 – undervalues the firm. Indeed, the price has shot up over the months of wrangling since the original approach back in June and is now trading at $87.94 from a 52-week low of $36.77. Roche has now extended its tender offer three times, with little uptake, leaving Ventana far from impressed; back in September just 63,500 shares had been tendered, less than 0.2% of the 34 million shares Ventana says it has outstanding.
“Small, targeted'' deals are what interest Roche most, and Humer reiterated this again in his interview with the FT, telling the paper that purchasing Ventana is part of the company’s overarching aim to strengthen its diagnostics business as a platform to provide both diagnostic and personalised treatment. “You can justify your pricing based on the diagnostic,” he finished.
Ventana is a manufactuer of medical diagnostic instrument and reagent systems providing leading-edge automation technology for use in slide-based diagnosis of cancer and infectious disease.