Monday, February 16, 2009

Help! There's a Hostile Takeover in My Mailbox

I innocently opened up the mail and in it was something from Sharebuilder that looked like it would be an annual report though it's a bit late for that. I was just about to toss it into the ignore for a while pile but something got me to open it.

It's from Roche offering to buy my glorious 1.5 shares (Sharebuilder gets the credit for allowing me to buy partial shares) of Genetech for 86.50 per share. Now given that it's a great time to be buying stock, but a rotten time to be selling it, my "Scooby Sense" (as Rachel Maddow is fond of saying) stated to go off.

Reading further I see:
On July 21, 2008 Roche publicly announced an
unsolicited proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Genentech common stock not owned by them, and proposed a merger at $89/share.

On Aug 13, 2008 a committee of the board of directors of Genentech said sod off. No, that's not what they said. It says they:
rejected that proposal as substantially undervaluing Genentech.

It goes on to say that
In light of the lack of progress, we have decided to make an offer directory to Genentech's stockholders thereby giving the public stockholders the opportunity to determine whether to accept the offer.
Yikes, that doesn't sound friendly at all, not only that, they are offering stockholders a lower offer than the rejected offer - what do they take us for - morons apparently. I do believe this is a hostile take over that has just been hand delivered to me by a US Government Official (my friend Pierre gets credit for that description :). Once again, the news is affecting me (though granted this is no Prop 8).

Doing some casual checking of actual news sources, rather than what I've been handed shows:

Genentech Rejects Takeover Bid from Roche
Roche takes its offer to Genentech Shareholders [that's me apparently - wave]

And what would Roche do if they are successful? Take all their new toys and go home. Yep, they would absorb it into Roche and de-list it from the NY Stock exchange. Now I don't mind semi private holdings at all, I work for a private company. But to have a good public company be taken away (via a Low Ball Offer even) and deprive ordinary stock holders of any benefit of Genentech's innovations, just really rubs me the wrong way. Although I guess we would all become Roche stockholders but that means that Genentech's actions would be wholly within Roche.

Fortunately, I don't have a lot of money invested in them and it's worth it for me to just hang in there just so I can write about what is going to happen next. Actually, even if I had a lot of money invested I wouldn't take such a bad offer anyway. Should be interesting to see how this all works out. The Reply deadline is March 9, 2009.

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