Axis-Shield bows to new bid from US peer Alere

City A.M. Reporter
MEDICAL diagnostics firm Axis-Shield said it had agreed to be bought by larger peer Alere after the US company modestly sweetened its offer to £235m, ending a three-month battle for the maker of Afinion devices.

Axis-Shield’s shares, which have gained about 34 per cent in value since Alere first pitched the offer to the board in July, closed up four per cent at 468p yesterday on the London Stock Exchange.

“Capitulation seems to be the order of the day...We believe, under more settled circumstances, the board may have considered to take a more robust position. The move from 460 pence to 470 pence is not much more than a token gesture,” analyst Mike Mitchell at Seymour Pierce said.

Axis-Shield said it would recommend that shareholders accept the 470-p per share bid, which is about two per cent higher than Alere’s original offer and four per cent higher than Axis-Shield’s Wednesday close.

Dundee, Scotland-based Axis-Shield, which still considers the offer to be undervalued, said it expected Alere’s revised 50 per cent acceptance condition to be met against a “volatile economic and market backdrop”.