Newron Pharmaceuticals SpA (NWRN)’s shareholders approved the acquisition of Sweden’s NeuroNova AB, after offering 40 percent fewer shares to appease an investor who previously blocked the deal.
Shareholders at a meeting in Zurich today voted unanimously in favor of the purchase, Bresso, Italy-based Newron said in a statement. The company will buy closely-held NeuroNova with 2,375,000 new shares, or 21 percent of its stock, in a deal that values the Stockholm-based company at 19.8 million Swiss francs ($21 million) as of yesterday’s closing price.
The acquisition gives Newron experimental drugs against Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases, and 16 million euros ($21 million) in cash to help develop safinamide, a Parkinson’s treatment that is Newron’s most advanced project. Zambon Company SpA, Newron’s second-biggest shareholder, blocked the deal in a September ballot when Newron’s board was offering a 33 percent stake.
“The revised agreement to acquire NeuroNova experienced strong support both from institutional and retail shareholders demonstrating clearly that there is trust and support in Newron’s strategy to broaden its development pipeline,” Newron Chairman Rolf Stahel said in the statement.
Zambon, a family-owned maker of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that’s also based in Bresso, paid 20 million euros for the rights to safinamide and a 9.1 percent stake in Newron in May, a month before Newron proposed the NeuroNova deal. Zambon has since increased its stake to 18 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Newron is buying NeuroNova from HealthCap, a venture capital fund manager with more than 900 million euros in investments, and Investor AB (INVEB), the holding company of the Wallenberg family that also controls SEB AB, Sweden’s fourth- largest lender. The two companies, which hold more than 90 percent of NeuroNova between them, are based in Stockholm.
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