J&J says to launch Crucell bid before end of November

AMSTERDAM (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. healthcare group Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: ) said it expects to launch its offer for Crucell (CRCL.AS: ) before the end of November, reassuring investors about the offer after the Dutch biotech suffered a vaccine production setback.

Crucell (CRXL.O: ) said on Thursday sterile operations at a South Korean plant may have been compromised recently and its 2010 financial outlook, of revenue and other operational income to exceed 2009 levels, no longer held.

But J&J and Crucell said on Friday they were making progress on the preparations for the offer and expect the Dutch stock markets authority AFM to approve the offer document on time to launch the bid before the end of November, as earlier stated.

“Regarding the … manufacturing issues in Crucell’s Shingal facility in Korea, Johnson & Johnson is working with Crucell to understand the circumstances surrounding these events and to assess the situation,” the companies said in a joint statement.

J&J, which owns 17.9 percent of Crucell, is willing to pay 24.75 euros per share or 1.75 billion euros ($2.5 billion) for stock it does not own.

The company said on Friday the offer price will be paid from J&J’s cash resources and the offer’s financing is not subject to any financing conditions or contingencies.

Earlier on Friday, J&J spokesman Bill Price said he had nothing to add to previous J&J statements following the Crucell investigation and that previous statements regarding the intended offer were still valid.

Crucell shares closed down 2.5 percent at 23.25 euros on Friday in volatile trade with high volumes as the stock moved between a low of 22.605 euros and a high of 23.995 euros.

Johnson and Johnson said a draft request has been lodged with the European Commission to file an anti-trust notification, while anti-trust filings have also been made in Brazil.

Talks are also under way with Crucell’s works council and the two companies expect to receive the council’s advice shortly.

(Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block and Djaja Ottenhof; Editing by Gary Hill)

J&J says to launch Crucell bid before end of November