King Pharmaceuticals has joined the bidders. The Bristol, Tenn.-based company offered $1.4 billion in cash for Alpharma, hoping to expand its pain-therapy products and create a larger, more diverse specialty pharma. The $33-per-share bid amounts to a 37 percent premium over yesterday's closing price, but it's a 49 percent premium over the price of August 4, when King first made its offer to Alpharma's board.
Alpharma, however, is not ready to join the acquired. The company rejected the bid when King first made overtures. Undaunted, King decided to tell the world about its offer. The company said it's ready to negotiate with Alpharma, and wanted to let shareholders know that it wants to make a friendly deal.
King Chief Executive Brian Markison called his proposal for a King-Alpharma combo "too compelling to ignore," saying that the two companies together would make a diversified pharma with the ability to sustain "long-term growth to better address the changing health care industry and provide meaningful, cost-effective medicines that improve the quality of life for patients." We'll see what the shareholders say.