Astellas tries board coup in hostile bid for OSI

Now that OSI's board has officially given Astellas the cold shoulder for its $3.5 billion takeover bid, the Japanese pharma company has nominated a slate of independent directors for the biotech who would give them a much warmer reception.

Astellas' nominees include some well-known biotech faces, including Aptuit founder Michael A. Griffith and Jill Kanin-Lovers, a veteran of the Alpharma board. They'll be expected to make the case that a combination of OSI and Astellas would help generate faster progress in the development of new cancer therapies.

OSI's major objection to the Astellas bid, of course, has nothing to do with R&D synergy. The OSI board has shunned Astellas' $52-a-share offer as far too low. And investors were quick to bid up the share price several dollars past that point in anticipation of a higher offer. To help nudge things along, OSI said yesterday that it is in talks with other potential buyers, including some unnamed Big Pharma players.

In a follow-up release, OSI said that it "believes the Astellas director nominees' only mandate is to support Astellas in acquiring OSI at an inadequate price."

- read the OSI release
- see Astellas' release
- here's the story from Bloomberg