Fresenius Could Walk Away From Akorn Deal
By Britta Becks
BAD HOMBURG, Germany--Fresenius SE (FRE.XE) could turn its back on the planned acquisition of generic drug company Akorn Inc. (AKRX) if evidence of wrongdoing materializes, the German healthcare company's chief executive said Tuesday.
Fresenius said overnight it was investigating potential breaches of U.S. Food and Drug Administration data-integrity requirements on product development at Akorn.
Fresenius CEO Stephan Sturm said Tuesday, however, that it is "much too early" to speculate on the outcome of the investigation, which was triggered by anonymous tips. The company is prepared for both the success and the failure of the planned takeover, he said.
Should the allegations prove baseless, the deal will go ahead, Mr. Sturm said.
Fresenius agreed to buy Akorn last year to strengthen the generic-drug business of its Fresenius Kabi unit. Akorn's products include injectable, oral liquids, nasal sprays and respiratory drugs.
Mr. Sturm said there were alternatives to the deal, but growth through acquisitions in liquid generics isn't essential.
Separately, Akorn said it was also looking into the matter. To date, its investigation hadn't found "any facts that would result in a material impact on Akorn's operations, and the company does not believe this investigation should affect the closing of the transaction with Fresenius," the U.S. company said.
The agreement reached last year called for the deal to close by April 24, a deadline that could be extended up to six months. Under certain conditions Akorn could be required to pay a termination fee.
Mr. Sturm said the investigation was more likely to take weeks rather than months.
Maria Armental contributed to this article.
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February 27, 2018 08:03 ET (13:03 GMT)Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.