Roche confident of closing Spark Therapeutics purchase despite facing offer extension, delay to antitrust review

A Roche spokesman said Wednesday that the company remains confident that the purchase of Spark Therapeutics will be completed by the end of June, despite having to extend the offer period after only 29.4 percent of shares were tendered. Roche also indicated that an antitrust review of the transaction by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking longer than anticipated.

According to Roche, the offer is being extended to from a previous cut-off of April 3 to May 2, while all other terms and conditions of the deal, which is valued at $114.50 per share, remain unchanged. The drugmaker explained that its plans had to be refiled with the FTC, on agreement with the regulator and Spark, without providing any further details.

"The deal is not in doubt at all and we expect it will be completed according to our guidance in the first half of 2019. There needs to be more than 50 percent of the shares to be tendered, but we believe our offer to be full and fair and it has been recommended by the board of Spark," the spokesman added.

However, a number of lawsuits have been filed in the US by Spark investors who are challenging the agreement on grounds that it undervalues the company's stock and is unfair to shareholders. Documents released last month showed that Spark generated takeover interest from a number of parties before agreeing to the $4.3-billion Roche deal.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Roche pivots into gene therapy.

To read more Top Story articles, click here.