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JOHANNESBURG, April 30 (Reuters) – South African firm Bidvest Group has only raised its stake in Adcock Ingram by 1 percent since launching an offer for the drug maker, a sign that most shareholders are unwilling to accept a $500 million bid.
Bidvest, a company spanning car showrooms, shipping and catering, agreed to buy out three Adcock investors with a combined 13 percent stake at 52 rand per share, which would take its stake to 47.5 percent and above a 35 percent bid threshold.
As a result, Bidvest had to offer to buy all the shares in Adcock at the same price, but it said on Thursday it had only acquired another 1.12 percent of the stock in the six weeks since the offer was launched.
The offer, which has already been extended once, expires on May 18 and Adcock’s second-biggest shareholder after Bidvest, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), has said it will not sell its shares.
Bidvest wants to control Adcock so it can build a big presence in the pharmaceutical market, and especially in the market for generic drugs which is set to grow under a planned national health insurance programme.
It looks unlikely that Bidvest will end up with more than 50 percent of the shares and it is in talks with PIC about creating a pooling agreement under which their shares will be voted as unit.
Bidvest will still be allowed to raise its stake above the 35 percent threshold, even if the remaining shareholders reject the offer.
Shares in Adcock were up 0.6 percent at 53.3 rand by 1410 GMT, while the JSE All-share index was slightly weaker. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by David Clarke)
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