Royalty given deadline to submit firm offer for Elan

Royalty Pharma, the US investment management firm interested in buying Irish biotechnology company Elan, has been set a deadline of May 10 by the Irish Takeover Panel to either table a firm offer for the company or walk away from the process for at least 12 months.

The New York firm made an indicative proposal to buy Elan, for $6.6bn (€5.1bn), or $11 per share, in February, which was described by Elan as being “heavily conditional” and “highly opportunistic”, given that Elan was in the midst of disposing of its main revenue-earner, the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, and announcing its intention to return most of the funds to its shareholders.

Royalty is hoping to add hundreds of millions of dollars of royalty rights for Tysabri.

In its statement yesterday, the Irish Takeover Panel said it had set the deadline following representations by Elan and correspondence with advisers to both Royalty and Elan.

Elan welcomed the statement and reiterated its stance that Royalty’s proposal remains an indication of interest only.

Elan yesterday said it has formally completed a deal to sell its 50% share in Tysabri for $3.25bn and additional royalty payments to co-partner on the treatment, US pharma Biogen Idec, thus paving the way for it to return roughly a third of that money to its shareholders via a planned rights issue. The company is due to hold an EGM for shareholders to vote on the rights issue next week.

Although it has rejected Royalty’s advances, Elan has said in recent weeks that it will consider any credible takeover proposal.

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