German generics maker Stada is back on the market. Just weeks after announcing a €5.32 billion ($5.63 billion) buyout by private equity investors, the deal has failed, unable to get enough support from shareholders.
Stada in May agreed to be acquired by London-based private equity firm Cinven and Boston investment firm Bain Capital for essentially €66 a share, a 48.9% premium. But Monday it announced they had secured commitments from only 65.52% of shareholders, instead of the required 67.5%. The investors had already lowered the threshold for approval from 75%.
Stada called it a show of support for its current strategy, but sources told Reuters it was more likely scuttled because retail investors that held Stada shares in index funds had ignored the call for their approval. About 27% of Stada’s shares are held by retail investors.
“We respect the close vote of our shareholders and understand it as a mandate to press ahead with our successful growth strategy,” Stada Chairman Matthias Wiedenfels, said in a statement. “However, we also regard this decision as a mark of confidence in STADA’s abilities, which our employees have impressively demonstrated, in particular over the past months.”
German takeover rules complicate another run at the company by Bain and Cinven. They would have to submit an entirely new offer and get Stada shareholders to agree to it within the year, Reuters said.
There is a chance that Boston private equity firm Advent International might make another offer for the company. It had proposed a $3.7 billion buyout of Stada in February, but the drugmaker chose instead to hold out for higher offers.
In an effort to attract those, Stada in March laid out a cost-cutting plan and boosted its sales and earnings forecasts significantly. It projected a 2019 adjusted EBITDA target range of between €570 million to €590 million ($612.8 million to $634.3 million) up from its earlier projection of €510 million ($548.3 million).