BASF makes its 'final offer' to Pronova shareholders

Pronova's fish oil pill--courtesy of Pronova BioPharma

Recalcitrant Pronova BioPharma shareholders need to face reality, BASF says. The German chemicals giant has raised its bid for the fish-oil drugs maker, but only slightly--to €684 million ($910 million) from €644 million ($856.8 million). And BASF says that's all Pronova is going to get.

Minority shareholders at the Norwegian drugmaker had been agitating for more since BASF stepped forward with its original proposal. Now, as Outsourcing-Pharma reports, BASF admits it's giving in to that pressure. "[T]he increased offer price is a concession to the shareholders of Pronova to enable a transaction," spokesman Thomas Nonnast said.

For those stubborn stockholders--Odin Forvaltning AS and Nykredit Asset Management--Nonnast had a few reality-check comments. Greece, one of Pronova's key markets, has put two of the company's products on the do-not-reimburse list as part of its ongoing cost-cutting efforts. "[T]here is no further information that would require an increase in the offer price," Nonnast told the publication. "In fact, the most recent news flow around Pronova was rather negative."

As FiercePharmaManufacturing has reported, BASF is suddenly hot on the fish-oil market. After making its initial bid for Pronova, it announced a contract to make the active ingredient in Amarin's ($AMRN) newly approved heart pill Vascepa, derived from fish oil. And last May, it bought a fish oil plant in Scotland and immediately put $29.2 million into an expansion. Its latest Pronova offer expires Jan. 18.

- see the Outsourcing-Pharma story