McKesson raises bid to buy rival drug distributor Celesio, keeps Thursday deadline on offer

SAN FRANCISCO – McKesson Corp. has raised its bid for rival German pharmaceutical drug distributor Celesio with what it said Thursday was its best and final offer.

San Francisco-based McKesson is now offering 23.5 euros for each share of Celesio. That equates to about $31.97 per share and is up from an offer of 23 euros last month. That offer is currently worth about $31.29 per share.

McKesson said Thursday it had reached a deal with Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, which holds a 50 per cent stake in Celesio, on the higher bid.

McKesson also struck a deal with the hedge fund Elliott to acquire its Celesio convertible bonds if the latest takeover bid succeeds. Elliott owns about a 25 per cent stake in Celesio and had contended that the company was worth more than the $8.3 billion value of the previous offer.

The hedge fund didn’t specify an acceptable price, but it had vowed last month not to accept McKesson’s earlier bid, which was worth $31.65 per share in early December.

McKesson needs support from roughly three-fourths of Celesio’s stockholders and bondholders. The company’s new offer expires Thursday, which was the same deadline for the previous bid.

McKesson also provides information technology services and medical-surgical supply management.

Its shares rose 2.5 per cent, or $4.19, to $174 in premarket trading Thursday about 2 1/2 hours before the market open. That stock price had already climbed 66 per cent in 2013 after closing the previous year at $96.96.