- A roughly $8 billion bid to acquire the rare disease drugmaker Sobi has fallen apart, as the would-be buyers weren't able to secure enough support from shareholders.
- First announced in early September, the deal between Sobi and the investment firms Advent International and GIC required 90% of the company's shares to be tendered in order to close. The period in which investors could tender their shares was extended twice; but as of Dec. 1, the tally was just shy of the threshold, hovering around 87%. The firms have withdrawn their offer as a result.
- Citing people familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reported Friday that AstraZeneca chose not to tender its 8% stake in Sobi, effectively thwarting the acquisition. The British drugmaker did not return BioPharma Dive's request for comment.
Had it closed, the Sobi deal would rank as one of the industry's largest acquisitions this year, according to a database compiled by BioPharma Dive. But with Advent and GIC's offer withdrawn, Sobi has to adjust its plans.
The Sweden-based company had been an active dealmaker itself in recent years, acquiring in 2018 full rights to Gamifant, a marketed medicine for a rare and life-threatening inflammatory disease. That same year, it entered into a $1.5 billion cash and equity deal with AstraZeneca, giving Sobi ownership over two drugs for lower respiratory tract infections caused by a certain kind of virus.
Those deals played into a restructuring Sobi began in mid-2018, which prioritized treatments for uncommon blood and immune disorders that had advanced to the later stages of human testing. By late 2019, the company had taken this strategy a step further by purchasing Dova Pharmaceuticals and its approved drug Doptelet.
Now, Sobi touts more than a dozen products and a pipeline that includes three mid-stage programs and four late-stage ones. The company recorded 15.3 billion Swedish krona, or roughly $1.7 billion, in total revenue last year.
"The Board and I have confidence in Sobi’s vision: To be recognized as a global leader in rare diseases," Håkan Björklund, chairman of the board of directors, said in a Dec. 3 statement. "We have taken important steps towards this vision in recent years, and we are proud of the clear progress made."
Sobi's board supported the public offer from Advent and GIC. So, too, had Investor AB, a Swedish investment and holding company and one of Sobi's largest shareholders.
"Under our ownership Sobi has built a leading hemophilia franchise greatly benefitting patients and broadened its product portfolio within Hematology and Immunology, organically and through major acquisitions," Johan Forssell, CEO of Investor AB, said in a statement. "Our focus is now to continue to create long-term value for Sobi's shareholders."
Sobi shares, which trade on the Stockholm stock exchange, lost about a quarter of their value Friday morning, to trade around 170 Swedish krona each.