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Both Roche and Genentech Remain Silent on Status of Acquisition Talks

Written by on Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post

Both Roche and Genentech are continuing to remain silent on the status of the Roche-Genentech acquisition talks.  For now, employees and investors are left hanging as Genentech’s future continues to be uncertain.

Analysts apparently had hoped to get an update this week during Genentech’s earnings call about the status of the acquisition,  but they were unsuccessful, according to Seeking Alpha’s Mike Huckman.

Huckman wrote regarding the earnings call as follows:

[Roche officials would] only say they remain “totally committed” to the Genentech offer and wouldn’t make any comments or answer any questions about a “negotiated agreement” or its ability to finance the deal. . . .

So many analysts, investors and reporters dialed into the Roche call yesterday morning after it had started that one company official later repeated for the benefit of the latecomers that it wasn’t going to show its hand. Some analysts and investors were banking on a new treatment to force Roche to come back with a much higher offer, but it didn’t pan out Sunday night when Genentech announced the test of Avastin as an add-on drug for colon cancer will continue through the end.

Analysts were similarly unsuccessful in the case of the Genentech earnings call earlier this month, although the subject of the acquisition was at least raised there.  Following the Genentech call, at least one analyst, Eric Schmidt of Cowen and Co., still decided to upgrade Genentech shares from an equivalent of “Buy” to a “Hold.” Schmidt stated in the Genentech call as follows:

While management refused to discuss the Roche situation, we believe a deal is inevitable, and that an agreement would be facilitated by a recovery in the credit markets. We believe large-cap investors seeking economically resilient growth at a reasonable valuation will find Genentech shares attractive.

So, the question remains: will they or won’t they do the deal?

I personally agree with Schmidt that the deal is going to eventually happen–that Roche will come up with a share price that will make it worth Genentech’s while to sell.  It is not so much a question of if but when. . . .

The California Biotech Law Blog will continue to keep you posted as any new developments regarding the deal emerge.

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