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Merz Declines to Raise Bid for Obagi, Yielding to Valeant

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Merz Pharma GmbH walked away from an effort to buy Obagi Medical Products Inc., saying it didn’t want to top Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.’s $418 million offer.

Merz, a closely held German drugmaker, will look for other acquisition opportunities, the Frankfurt-based company said in a statement today. Obagi, a Long Beach, California-based maker of prescription skin-care products, declined to below the Valeant offer in U.S. trading, showing investors no longer expect a higher bid.

“Obagi was an opportunity worth pursuing given its complementary fit with Merz’s portfolio of injectables,” said Merz Chief Executive Officer Philip Burchard in the statement. “However, Merz is a disciplined buyer and at this level the economics of such a transaction do not meet our requirements.”

Valeant announced March 20 an agreement to buy Obagi for $19.75 a share in cash. Merz on April 2 made an unsolicited offer of $22 a share. Obagi the next day accepted a sweetened offer from Valeant of $24 a share, or about $418 million.

Obagi dropped 5.7 percent to $23.98 at 4 p.m. New York time. The stock has risen 76 percent this year and closed on April 4 at the highest price since the shares began trading in 2006. Valeant, based in Montreal, rose less than 1 percent to $72.12 in New York.

Obagi’s biggest product is Nu-Derm, a treatment to reduce signs of aging on the skin. The therapy had about $62 million in sales last year.

Voce Capital LLC, a hedge fund, last year began pushing for a sale of the company.

FIFW NSN MKSTZ71A1I4H <GO> Valeant Raises Obagi Offer to $417 Million After Merz Bid (3)

FIFW NSN MKP4Y36TTDTS <GO> Obagi Medical Surges on New Takeover Offer: Los Angeles Mover

To contact the reporter on this story: Eva von Schaper in Munich at evonschaper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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