Lonza offers $460M for Patheon

Lonza Group has swooped in to rescue pharmaceutical industry supplier Patheon from a hostile takeover by private equity firm JLL Partners. In March, JLL made a $259 million bid for Patheon. The company resisted the bid, saying the $2 a share offered was not enough. But Patheon was impressed with Lonza's $3.55 per share offer and is urging shareholders to consider the deal.

For Lonza, a buyout of Patheon would allow it to increase its offering across the pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain. "An acquisition of Patheon would take us into the complementary activities of finished dosage development and manufacturing for both small molecule and biological active ingredients," explained CEO Stefan Borgas. "With Patheon, Lonza would be in a unique position to offer its customers manufacturing capability across the complete supply chain."

A final deal for Patheon could still be several months away. Lonza must spend several months conducting due diligence, and then has to succeed in purchasing 67 percent of Patheon. JLL currently owns 57 percent of the company. While Lonza hasn't directly discussed its offer with JLL, a company spokesperson said today's bid will lead to that. According to the Wall Street Journal, Patheon has over 4,000 employees and revenues exceeding $700 million in 2008. The manufacturing company services 250 pharma companies.

 - check out Lonza's release
- see the report from the WSJ