A Risky Move For Hoechst

YOU GOTTA GIVE JuRGEN DORmann credit: He's not afraid to make big moves. On Feb. 28, the CEO of German drug and chemical giant Hoechst announced that he is willing to pay $25.75 a share, or about $7.2 billion, for Marion Merrell Dow, the troubled drugmaker Dow Chemical has been trying to unload. The move takes chutzpah: Analysts chided Hoechst for overpaying in 1993 for 51% of generic drugmaker Copley Pharmaceutical, which now is mired in lawsuits over an allegedly tainted asthma drug. Hoechst put down $55 per share for its stake; Copley now trades at about $18. Standard & Poor's put Hoechst on a credit watch "with negative implications" because of worries about how Dormann will finance Hoechst's latest bid.

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