Sought-after Stada confirms unnamed third suitor

Stada
Stada now has three potential bidders that have expressed interest in taking over the company.

Stada already had two interested buyers in the mix as of earlier this week. And now, it’s got three.

The German drugmaker confirmed Thursday afternoon that it had received yet another expression of buyout interest, this one from a mystery buyer indicating it was willing to fork over €58 ($68.60) per Stada share. That’s an increase on the €56 ($59.48) per share—or €3.5 billion ($3.72 billion)—floated by private equity suitor Cinven.

“Stada is still weighing up its options on how to react in the best interest of the company,” it said in a statement.

The news follows a pair of announcements from Stada from earlier this week detailing interest from Cinven and fellow private equity outfit Advent International.

Each of the two "could offer in different ways attractive opportunities in the interest of the company," Stada said in a statement, noting that it was striking up “open-minded talks” that would "allow the interested parties to explain their strategic concepts and evaluate further value-enhancing potential with regards to the potential offer price."

Still, Stada said Thursday it’s too early to tell whether one or more of the potential bidders will actually offer up a formal proposal.

If they do, it’s likely to make at least one outspoken shareholder happy. Last summer, when Stada was fighting proxy brawler Active Ownership Capital, U.S.-based rebel investor Guy Wyser-Pratte made it clear that he’d prefer a sale instead of a board revamp. “Why wait five years instead of selling in five months?” he asked Reuters at the time.

Meanwhile, Stada’s used to the flurry of takeover interest after a busy 2016. Last year, the company and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners reportedly held informal talks on a deal worth up to €3.7 billion, and other private equity outfits got in touch with Stada around the same time, too.