CSL in buyback, refocuses on new buyouts

Weighted down with extra cash intended to buy Talecris Biotherapeutics, Australia's CSL says it will disgorge more than a billion dollars directly to shareholders by buying back its stock. And even after it spends about $1.25 billion in the handover, CSL's chief executive says that the company will have plenty of cash on hand to pursue other small biotech acquisitions.

The buyback involves close to 55 million shares, or nine percent of the company's stock, and will be based on the Friday close of AU$28.98. After the exchange, says CEO Brian McNamee, the company will be in "very financially strong position" with no debt on the books. That will allow the vaccine company to go after other buyouts.

"We are always looking at stuff," McNamee told reporters when asked if he was interested in pursuing other biotechs. But he's clearly rankled about the way U.S. regulators stepped between CSL and Talecris.

"We play in their park, we have to play by their rules," McNamee said. "Do I think the process was fair and had natural justice? No, but end of the day, they set the rules and we benefit greatly from participating in the US market."

- read the story from The Age
- see the report from Forbes

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