Horizon hikes Depomed offer to $2B in bid for 'friendly' deal talks

Don't get Horizon Pharma ($HZNP) wrong. It intends to pursue Depomed ($DEPO) as an M&A target whether the California company likes it or not. But it would prefer for Depomed to like it--and in an effort to spur a "friendly, negotiated transaction," it's raising its bid.

Horizon CEO Timothy Walbert

Tuesday, the Irish pharma put forth a $33 per share proposal--up from its previous $29.25-per-share offer. The new bid represents a 60% premium to Depomed's share price the day before Horizon took its intentions public, or about $1.97 billion. But that price is contingent on Depomed "rapidly entering into good faith discussions regarding a transaction," Horizon CEO Timothy Walbert wrote in a letter to his target's board.

On that front, Walbert said his company remains "surprised and disappointed" that Depomed hasn't yet come to the bargaining table. Based on talks Horizon has had with shareholders on both sides, "it is clear that they and the investment community strongly support a combination of our two businesses," he said in a statement.

For its part, Depomed so far hasn't shown any signs that it's up for a buyout. Last week, it adopted a poison pill plan that would be triggered if any person or group picks up an ownership stake larger than 10%.

But Depomed's reticence won't stop Horizon from moving forward, Walbert stressed: "Horizon remains committed to an acquisition of Depomed and we are prepared to consider all paths necessary to complete the transaction," he said.

- read Horizon's release

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