Just days after announcing plans to float part of Organon in late March, Akzo Nobel has sold the entire company to American giant Schering Plough for €11bn in cash. Organon is the world’s third largest maker of birth control pills and has a number of experimental drugs in development.
‘It is a fantastic price for Akzo,’ said analyst Wim Hoste at KBC Securities. Chairman Hans Wijers said during a conference call that talks on the sale had begun one-and-a-half weeks ago and the deal was signed early on Monday morning.
At a news conference in London last week, Organon’s chairman Ton Wilderbeek said that March 27 had been earmarked for the flotation, and that the prospectus would be issued today. Wilderbeek will oversee the transition but will not ‘pursue a career’ at Schering Plough, Wijers said this morning.
‘The sale of Organon to Schering Plough is the latest surprise in the billion euro game being played around Organon,’ said FNV union spokesman Ben Roodhuizen. ‘At the pay negotiations last week, we were told an IPO was the best thing for Organon.’
Schering Plough said the takeover would not lead to large-scale job losses. Akzo will use part of the proceeds for a €1.3bn share buy-back programme, reduce its pension obligations and make acquisitions.
The UK’s specialty chemicals group ICI is being tipped as a possible target.
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