Novartis says that it does not expect to win the regulatory green light for its takeover of US generics manufacturer, Eon Labs, before July 8, and has extended its tender offer to acquire all the latter firm’s outstanding shares from June 20 to July 1.

Based on a preliminary count, Novartis says that some 22 million Eon Labs shares were tendered as of June 20, and an additional 2.3 million should be added to this within the next three days. The Swiss company says it intends to buy the remaining 67.7% of Eon’s shares from its majority shareholder, Santo Holding.

The takeover of Eon Labs was announced earlier this year together with Novartis’ purchase of German company, Hexal [[21/02/05b]]. The Swiss giant has already secured regulatory clearance for the Hexal deal [[07/06/05e]], but is not expecting to be granted the all-clear in the Eon acquisition before a court hearing on shareholder litigation, which is scheduled to take place on July 8. “Novartis does not currently expect to receive regulatory approval prior to the court’s hearing. However, Novartis, Eon and Santo have agreed that Novartis will not complete the tender offer or the purchase of Santo’s shares while the motion for preliminary injunction is pending,” the Swiss company said in a statement.

Both Hexal and Eon will be integrated into Novartis’ Sandoz generics business. Once the deal is closed, Novartis says that Sandoz will be the global leader in the generics market, with combined pro forma 2004 sales of some $5.1 billion dollars, and a leading position in many of the world’s markets for generic drugs, including the USA and Germany, as well as a strong foothold in both Asia and Latin America.