ZURICH, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Roche shareholders voted
overwhelmingly on Friday to support the $20.7 billion deal to
buy Novartis's nearly one third voting stake, the Swiss
Roche held an extraordinary general meeting to settle
matters related to its plan to disentangle the two pharma
companies, both based in Basel, who had been linked by the
investment for two decades.
Shareholders approved the audited statutory interim
financial statements of the company as of 31 October 2021 with a
majority of 100.00%, Roche said.
They also backed the plan to cancel the 53.3 million shares
bought, with a majority of 99.85%.
Therefore, the corporate law requirements for the repurchase
have been satisfied, Roche said. The closing of the repurchase
transaction is expected to take place in early December 2021.
"Today's resolutions of the Extraordinary General Meeting
are in the best economic and strategic interest of Roche," said
Roche Chairman Christoph Franz. "As a result, we will be even
better positioned to make a contribution to the health of people
around the world."
Novartis agreed earlier this month to sell 53.3 million
Roche bearer shares for $388.99 (356.93 Swiss francs) per share,
a price that reflected the volume-weighted average of the Roche
non-voting equity certificates over the 20 trading days to Nov.
The repurchase was conditional upon the approval by
shareholders of a capital reduction by cancellation of the
repurchased shares and of the interim financial statements
prepared for the transaction.
Novartis' involvement started in 2001, when Swiss activist
investor Martin Ebner, known for orchestrating the merger that
created banking giant UBS, offered his Roche stake to
its cross-town rival out of frustration over rebuffed proposals.
Roche Chairman Franz said earlier this month that the deal
would give his company more strategic flexibility, as Roche
could now make plans without needing the approval of Novartis.
(Reporting by John Revill, editing by Silke Koltrowitz)