Its bid to buy respiratory drugmaker Vectura has been raised to more than £1bn by Tobacco giant Philip Morris. Inhaled medicines and devices for treating respiratory illnesses such as asthma is made by Vectura and its customers include the likes of Novartis and GSK.
Following an offer of £958m ($1.3bn) for Vectura by US private equity firm Carlyle, its offer was increased to £1.65 ($2.29) per share by the Marlboro cigarette maker.
No comments on the new bid were available from Vectura. The company had however previously backed the offer from Carlyle while also withdrawing its previous recommendation for Philip Morris’ previous bid.
Vectura was of the opinion that it would do better under Carlyle’s ownership, the London-listed company said on Friday, while noting that the “reported uncertainties relating to the impact on Vectura’s wider stakeholders arising as a result of the possibility of the company being owned by PMI (Philip Morris)”.
A potential inhaled treatment for Covid-19 will also be attempted to be developed by Vectura in partnership with Inspira, a United Kingdom based pharmaceuticals firm which focuses on development of therapies for respiratory and infectious diseases.
“The PMI (Philip Morris International) increased offer values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Vectura at approximately £1.02bn ($1.41bn),” Philip Morris said in a statement. “PMI intends to operate Vectura as an autonomous business unit that will form the backbone of its inhaled therapeutics business,” the tobacco company added.
The latest offer represents a premium of 10p per share to the rival offer of £1.55 a share by Carlyle Group.
Some time back, Philip Morris said that it could stop selling cigarettes in the UK in the next 10 years as it shifts its focus to making alternatives, such as heated tobacco.
While indicating that it would welcome a ban on cigarettes by the government, the firm said “strong regulation” was required to “help solve the problem of cigarette smoking once and for all”.
However, UK based health charity Ash said it was hard to take such claims seriously from the firm responsible for selling over a tenth of cigarettes globally.
(Adapted from BBC.com)