Abbott, Alere Antitrust Mediation Ends Without Resolution

  • Alere suit claims Abbott is deliberately delaying FTC approval
  • Case reverts to Delaware judge who suggested failed mediation

Efforts to have a mediator resolve antitrust disagreements in Abbott Laboratories’ stalled $5.8 billion takeover of Alere Inc. have failed, Alere said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock had previously granted Alere’s request to expedite a ruling on whether Abbott was intentionally dragging its feet in order to disrupt the deal. The judge then stayed the Sept. 2 order and suggested mediation between the companies.

“Mediation concluded without resolution, and the matter is still pending,” Alere said in the filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Spokesmen for Abbott and Alere didn’t immediately comment on Tuesday.

In February, Abbott said it would buy Alere for $56 a share. Since then, efforts to complete the merger have broken down, after Alere delayed filing its financial reports and unveiled legal investigations by the U.S. government. Alere has accused Abbott of delaying work on Federal Trade Commission approval. Abbott’s other avenues for exiting the deal include “uncured breaches” of the merger agreement, which Alere has said have not occurred.

Time is running short. Alere has called for a special meeting on Oct. 21, when its shareholders will be asked to vote to adopt the merger agreement. It is unclear if Glasscock will issue a ruling on the case by then.

Abbott is also in the midst of buying its medical device rival St. Jude Medical Inc. for $25 billion in a deal that was announced in April, and on Sept. 16 Abbott said it had agreed to sell its eye-surgery equipment unit for $4.33 billion to Johnson & Johnson.

The case is Alere Inc. v. Abbott Laboratories, CA 12691, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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