Abbott, Alere Stalled Takeover Fight May Be Heard in January

  • Court’s former chief judge will serve as mediator if needed
  • Abbott proposed schedule for antitrust regulatory filings

Alere Inc.’s bid to force Abbott Laboratories to complete its stalled $5.8 billion takeover of the medical testing company could linger into January.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock set a Jan. 27 hearing to decide whether Abbott is dragging its feet in getting antitrust clearance for its buyout of rival Alere, according to court filings. Abbott submitted a proposed schedule of regulatory filings needed to get approval of the acquisition and agreed to allow Alere to take part in all discussions with regulators worldwide.

The hearing on Alere’s argument that Abbott should be forced to consummate the merger will only be held if the two sides can’t resolve their conflicts. William Chandler III, the court’s former chief judge, will serve as a mediator over the case in hopes of helping the parties reach an agreement.

The hearing request comes days after the companies said that efforts to have a mediator resolve the antitrust disagreements failed. Glasscock’s order means a hearing will take place, if needed, before the deal’s closing scheduled for Jan. 30. It will be months later than Alere’s original request for a hearing by the end of September.

Representatives of both companies declined to comment on the ruling.

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 approvals by the Federal Trade Commission and other regulators needed for the deal to proceed. Abbott’s other avenues for exiting the deal include “uncured breaches” of the merger agreement, which Alere has said have not occurred.

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

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