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Axcan Buys Eurand For $583M

European drug developer said Wednesday it has agreed to a buyout offer of about $583 million in cash from rival Axcan Holdings Inc.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The European drug developer Eurand NV said Wednesday it has agreed to a buyout offer of about $583 million in cash from a privately held rival, Axcan Holdings Inc. The deal would add a range existing and potential drugs to Axcan's portfolio of products.

Axcan Holdings Inc., parent company of Birmingham, Ala.-based Axcan Intermediate Holdings Inc., is a privately-held drug developer focusing on gastrointestinal conditions. Eurand, based in Amsterdam, makes a range of drugs focusing on gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and pain conditions.

Under the deal, Axcan will pay $12 per Eurand share, marking a 9.4 percent premium to Tuesday's closing price of $10.97.

Eurand's shares rose 91 cents, or 8.3 percent, to $11.87 in morning trading Wednesday.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011, provided it gets regulatory approval and a minimum of 80 percent of Eurand's shares are tendered.

To reach the threshold, a majority of the shares held by shareholders other than Eurand's chairman and CEO, Gearoid Faherty, and affiliates of Warburg Pincus also must be tendered. Affiliates of Warburg Pincus own about 55 percent of Eurand's outstanding stock, while Faherty owns about 3.7 percent. Both of those parties agreed to tender their shares.

Faherty will remain chairman and CEO of Eurand through the end of 2010. At that time, John J. Fraher, currently chief commercial officer of Eurand, will become CEO and Angelo C. Malahias will become non-executive chairman.

Axcan said it secured debt financing from BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital and RBC Capital Markets.

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