Bayer AG Walks Away From Schiff After Reckitt Benckiser Plc Trumps Bid

Published: Nov 20, 2012

Bayer AG (BAYN) decided not to raise its takeover offer for Schiff Nutrition International Inc. (SHF), yielding to Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc’s (RB/) $1.4 billion counterbid for the U.S. vitamin maker. The price would have been too high, the Leverkusen, Germany-based company today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bayer said Oct. 30 it had agreed to buy Salt Lake City-based Schiff for about $1.1 billion, or $34 a share. Reckitt began an unsolicited tender offer for Schiff Nov. 16 at $42 a share. Reckitt’s higher bid foiled Bayer Chief Executive Officer Marijn Dekkers’s attempt to add faster-growing vitamins and supplements to Bayer’s consumer-health unit. Schiff makes Move Free joint-care pills, Tiger’s Milk nutrition bars, MegaRed Omega-3 supplements and the Airborne cold-prevention remedy. “This is a very good and very reasonable move,” Fabian Wenner, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets in Zurich, said in a telephone interview today. “The higher price would have eaten a good part of the expected synergies.” Investors, anticipating a higher bid from Bayer or another company, had pushed Schiff shares above the Reckitt offer price. The stock rose 0.9 percent to close at $44.15 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Reckitt rose 0.7 percent to 3,805 pence at 12:50 p.m. in London, while Bayer gained 0.1 percent to 66.48 euros.

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