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Bristol-Myers says Celgene take over ‘best path’ for investors

FILE PHOTO: Logo of global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is pictured on the blouse of an employee in Le Passage, near Agen, France March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb urged shareholders on Wednesday to support its planned takeover of Celgene Corp, as it faces opposition to the $74 billion deal from at least two prominent investors.

Bristol-Myers said the deal was the “best path forward” for its shareholders, a message that was consistent with recent statements asking for investor support even as hedge funds Starboard Value LP and Wellington Management oppose the deal.

Bristol-Myers’ board and management conducted a “robust process and diligence” and are committed to a successful integration, it said.

The company also reiterated that the deal was expected to increase earnings by over 40 percent in the first full year after the deal closes.

As Bristol-Myers’ most important cancer immunotherapy Opdivo faces competition from Merck & Co’s Keytruda, the company is betting on Celgene to strengthen its position in the lucrative oncology market.

If successful, the acquisition will be the largest pharmaceutical deal ever.

Bristol-Myers shareholders are set to vote on the deal on April 12.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Sai Sachin Ravikumar


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