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Bidvest only gets 1% more of target Adcock

A sign that most shareholders are unwilling to accept a $500 million bid.

South African firm Bidvest Group has only raised its stake in Adcock Ingram by 1% since launching an offer for the drug maker, a sign that most shareholders are unwilling to accept a $500 million bid.

Bidvest, a company spanning car showrooms, shipping and catering, agreed to buy out three Adcock investors with a combined 13% stake at R52 per share, which would take its stake to 47.5% and above a 35% bid threshold.

As a result, Bidvest had to offer to buy all the shares in Adcock at the same price, but it said on Thursday it had only acquired another 1.12% of the stock in the six weeks since the offer was launched.

The offer, which has already been extended once, expires on May 18 and Adcock’s second-biggest shareholder after Bidvest, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), has said it will not sell its shares.

Bidvest wants to control Adcock so it can build a big presence in the pharmaceutical market, and especially in the market for generic drugs which is set to grow under a planned national health insurance programme.

It looks unlikely that Bidvest will end up with more than 50% of the shares and it is in talks with PIC about creating a pooling agreement under which their shares will be voted as unit.

Bidvest will still be allowed to raise its stake above the 35% threshold, even if the remaining shareholders reject the offer.

Shares in Adcock were up 0.6% at 53.3 rand by 1410 GMT, while the JSE All-share index was slightly weaker.

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