Deal's done: Now Roche has to deliver

Ding dong, the deal is done. Roche has snared enough Genentech shares to take over the California company completely: Together with the 55.7 percent it already owned, the Swiss drugmaker now sports 93.2 percent of the more than 1 billion DNA shares outstanding. Holders with another 3 percent had promised to deliver theirs within three more business days, taking the total to 96.2 percent.

That means Roche can go ahead with a short-form merger, under which the remaining shareholders will get $95 per and Genentech will become a wholly owned piece of the Roche Group. And DNA will trade no more on Wall Street.

The $46.8 billion buyout has been a long time coming. Roche made its initial offer of $89 a share last summer. Ever since, Roche officials have been promising consummation, but until a dizzying few days of activity a couple of weeks ago, the deal just seemed to languish. No matter now. Analysts expect the combo to close during the second half of this year.

Roche still faces a big challenge: Keeping Genentech's culture and innovation alive. Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss wrote to investors that Roche now has to focus on making sure "that key scientists at Genentech don't jump off," the Wall Street Journal reports. And that could be tough. Roche's buyout made some of the biggest names at Genentech very, very rich. Somehow, Chairman Franz Humer and CEO Severin Schwan will have to persuade those folks that early retirement isn't their best option.

- read the Roche release
- see the story in the WSJ
- get the Associated Press news

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