Roche attempts hostile takeover of Ventana

June 26, 2007

By hammersmith

Pharmaceutical giant Roche Holding AG, the world’s largest maker of diagnostic tests, has made an unsolicited $3 billion bid to buy Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

Roche has tried to negotiate with Ventana for several months, but Ventana officials told Business Journal that they were not interested in another company obtaining an equity position in Ventana.

Ventana’s board of directors recommended that shareholders take no action while it reviews the offer.

If Ventana remains unwilling to negotiate a merger, Roche Chief Executive Officer Franz Humer told Arizona Republic he will bring the takeover bid directly to shareholders.

“We were disappointed they haven’t responded in any constructive way,” said Humer. “We hope to get a response and to sit down and have serious negotiations.”

Roche’s bid points to the rising prominence of Tucson’s bioscience industry, Larry Hecker, a Tucson attorney specializing in corporate and securities law, told Arizona Daily Star.

“It’s definitely a testament to the strength of the (biotech) industry cluster in this community, and I would hope they would keep it here,” said Hecker, who chaired a committee that helped draft an economic-development “blueprint” for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc.

“On the downside, Ventana is one of the very few (locally) headquartered public companies, and you always hate to lose that—you don’t want to become a branch of a larger company,” said Hecker.

For more information:

Ventana Medical takeover sought,” Arizona Daily Star, 06/26/2007

Takeover talk pushes Tucson-based Ventana’s stock up $25,” Arizona Republic, 06/26/2007

Roche attempts hostile takeover of Ventana Medical Systems,” Business Journal, 06/25/2007