Novartis won approval from a Delaware judge to settle a lawsuit that caused the world’s largest drug company to boost the price it paid for biotechnology company SyStemix Inc. by almost $10 million. Sandoz Ltd., which later merged with Ciba-Geigy to form Novartis, offered $17 a share in May 1996 for the 27% of Palo Alto-based SyStemix that it didn’t already own. Six suits filed by SyStemix shareholders in Chancery Court in Wilmington, Del., claimed the $66.3-million offer for 3.9 million shares was too low. Shareholder lawyers today told Judge Jack Jacobs that the litigation was a bargaining chip for SyStemix directors who negotiated a new offer of $19.50 a share. Shareholders accepted that offer, and Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis completed the $76.1-million purchase in February 1997.
Novartis Wins Court Approval of Settlement