Glaxo extends offer for partner

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GlaxoSmithKline has extended its $2.6bn offer to buy long-time partner Human Genome Sciences until the end of June as it battles the US biotech company’s reluctant management.

The price remains unchanged at $13 a share under the longer tender, which will now expire at 5pm (2100 GMT) New York time on June 29, Britain’s biggest drugmaker said yesterday.

The initial tender period ran out at midnight on June 7, by when GSK had secured less than 1 per cent of Human Genome shares, which are trading at a premium to its offer.

People familiar with the situation had previously said that GSK was set to extend its tender offer – a direct appeal to Human Genome shareholders over the heads of management – as it begins a process to replace the entire Human Genome board with its own nominees.

The company has already started reaching out to executives in the drug industry as well as finance and governance experts who could be nominated as independent directors of the 12-member board.

Sources said on May 30 that GSK intended to seek approval from Human Genome shareholders to replace the board under a “consent solicitation” process, which could come in the next few weeks. No details on the process were given yesterday.

Human Genome once again rejected GSK’s bid as inadequate. It has launched an auction process, inviting GSK to participate, while at the same time adopting a ‘poison pill’ shareholder rights plan in a bid to thwart the hostile takeover attempt.

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