Teva Fires Back at Mylan, Defending Bid, Attacking Mylan Boss

Teva CEO Vigodman and Chairman Peterburg accuse Mylan chairman of 'desperate attempt' to block their takeover bid.

Ofer Vaknin

A week after it came under a withering attack by Mylan Executive Chairman Robert Coury for quietly accumulating a stake in his company, Teva Pharmaceuticals fired back with a defense of its proposed takeover of the American drug maker.

In a letter addressed “Dear Robert” and signed by Teva CEO Erez Vigodman and Chairman Yitzhak Peterburg, didn’t spare Coury himself of criticism, accusing him of making “grossly incorrect statements to mislead your stockholders and other stakeholders about us.”

“Contrary to your claim that we are doing little more than ‘meddling,’ our proposal is strong and serious, offers exceptional opportunity for Mylan’s and Teva’s stockholders and other stakeholders, and deserves careful review and engagement by your board and your stockholders,” Vigodman and Peterburg wrote in the letter released on Monday.

“The picture that you have been creating is a desperate attempt to prevent this from happening,” they wrote.

The two companies have been locked in battle, along with a third company, Perrigo, as Israel’s Teva pursues a hostile takeover of Mylan and Mylan engages in a hostile takeover of Perrigo. As of Friday, Teva has accumulated a 2.46% stake in Mylan, which observers say it plans to increase to 4.6% and use it to make its voice heard at a Mylan shareholders’ meeting to vote on formalizing Mylan’s Perrigo offer.

Observers say Mylan hopes that by buying Perrigo it will make itself too big and unattractive for Teva to buy it, hence Teva is determined to block the Perrigo deal.

On Monday, Teva shares fell 0.7% to close at to 233.90 shekels ($60.85) in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading. Mylan shares were little changed, up 0.1% at $72.24 in late morning trading local time in New York.

Teva said it remained committed to striking a deal and reasserting that Teva’s $82-per-share offer would benefit shareholders of both firms. Vigodman and Peterburg accused Coury of ramming through approval of Mylan’s Perrigo bid without letting shareholders weight Teva’s offer.

They also asserted that Teva’s acquisition of Mylan shares is in compliance with United States law and accused Court of exploiting Mylan’s multilayered legal status to suit his convenience.

Mylan is incorporated in the Netherlands, but contends that its “principal” offices are in the U.S. for the purposes of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, thereby affording it antitrust protection. But it lists its principal executive offices as in Britain in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“You have been saying you are a Dutch company when you believe it helps you create unprecedented governance structures, a UK company when it helps you lower your U.S. taxes and a U.S. company when you believe it helps you prevent Teva from purchasing Mylan shares,” Vigodman and Peterburg wrote.