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Italian drug company to buy Cary's Cornerstone Therapeutics

Cornerstone Therapeutics, a Cary drug marketing company, said Monday it will be acquired by Italian pharmaceutical company Chiesi Farmaceutici in a deal that values Cornerstone at nearly $300 million.

Chiesi, which already owns 58 percent of Cornerstone's stock, will pay $9.50 a share for the outstanding Cornerstone shares, or about $125 million. Cornerstone shares have risen 87 percent in the past year, peaking at $10.25 in June after a 12-month low of $4.73 at the end of 2012.

Cornerstone shares are trading at $9.47 on Monday, down 27 cents, after closing at $9.74 Friday.

Cornerstone shares began their ascent in mid-February, when Chiesi made its initial written proposal to acquire the Cary company for $6.40 to $6.70 a share, totaling less than $200 million. Cornerstone created special committee to review the offer, but meanwhile investors pushed up the stock, pegging the deal between $8 and $10 a share.

Monday's announcement, valuing Cornerstone at $9.50 a share, is the result of the special committee review. The companies have not announced if Cornerstone will retain its name as a Chiesi subsidiary or if it will be renamed by its new owner.

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