The Spanish company seeking to buy Talecris Biotherapeutics for about $4 billion has again extended the deadline for the deal, as officials continue to negotiate with U.S. antitrust regulators.
Grifols and Talecris announced this morning they pushed back the pending date to June 30, more than a year after the proposed merger was announced.
The companies, which initially expected to complete the deal by the end of 2010, previously postponed the date to March 6. Shareholders with Talecris, which is based in Research Triangle Park, approved the deal on Feb. 14.
Both companies produce medicines made from blood plasma. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the union to make sure it doesn't lead to higher prices for such drugs. The FTC blocked an earlier Talecris takeover by an Australian company because of antitrust concerns.
Grifols is continuing to work with the FTC and has extended its various financing agreements to pay for the deal, it wrote in a statement.
Most Wall Street analysts predict the Grifols-Talecris deal eventually will win FTC approval, but the commission could require the companies to sell some assets or agree to specific conditions.
The companies could be balking at onerous conditions the FTC want to impose, said John Putnam, a stock analyst with Capstone Investments in San Diego.
Grifols could back out if its bosses believe the terms required by the FTC are too harsh. But if it calls off the deal because of FTC opposition, Grifols will owe Talecris a $350 million break-up fee.
"I think it is highly unlikely that Grifols, having gone this far, would walk away," Putnam said. "It looks to me like Talecris and Grifols are bending backwards to accommodate the FTC."
The deal is expected to spur some job losses among Talecris' more than 2,200 local employees as Grifols cuts costs. Any layoffs would probably hit harder at Talecris' RTP headquarters than its massive drug-manufacturing plant in Clayton.
Talecris shares rose 20 cents to $25.60 today. The shares began trading at $19 each in Sept. 2009.