Actelion reiterates wants to stay independent: report

ZURICH (BestGrowthStock) – Actelion Ltd (ATLN.VX: ), Europe’s largest biotech company, reiterated it wants to stay independent despite intense takeover speculation, its top managers told the Financial Times in an interview on Tuesday.

“The board and management are confident about the future prospects of the company as an independent entity and we’re not considering a sale,” Chairman Robert Cawthorn told the paper.

Actelion, has repeatedly come up in market rumors as a potential takeover target for Amgen (AMGN.O: ) in recent weeks, with analysts speculating the U.S. company and world’s largest biotech, could pay $9.8 billion, or $75 per share, for the Swiss company.

Cawthorn also dismissed speculation that Actelion was looking for a white knight to take a stake to stave off a hostile bid.

“There has never been, nor will there be any action by our board that will frustrate shareholders’ rights and interests,” he said.

Cawthorn also rejected suggestions of differences with Chief Executive Jean-Paul Clozel, the ex-Roche (ROG.VX: ) scientist who founded Actelion in 1997 and who is seen as possibly less willing to consider an offer due to his attachment to the firm.

In the joint interview with the FT, Clozel said Actelion did talk to other companies, including Amgen, but the discussions were about potential partnerships for its pipeline rather than a stake sale.

“There is a clearly a shortage of new products in this industry,” he said. “We have a lot of interesting products… As some of them are just too big for a company of our size to take on alone, we have contacts with many pharmaceuticals companies.”

Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer had met Clozel last week to discuss his interest in Actelion but made no offer for the company.

Actelion’s efforts to reduce its dependence on key drug Tracleer, which treats a rare heart and lung disorder and rakes in more than $1 billion a year, have been thwarted by a string of recent setbacks.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

Actelion reiterates wants to stay independent: report