Maruho Improves Offer


The Japanese pharmaceutical company Maruho has increased its partial purchase offer from 6.60 euros to 7.20 euros per Biofrontera share. Maruho plans to increase its stake in the German biotech from 20.3% to 29.99%.


The dermatology specialist based in Osaka emphasizes that the new offer price is above the highest price in the past ten years. Maruho was primarily reacting to the better-than-expected outlook for the current financial year. In its forecast at the end of April, the Management Board of Biofrontera had already announced that it would break even in the fourth quarter of 2019 and thus earlier than previously expected.


Two products that Biofrontera brought into the portfolio with the takeover of the Maruho subsidiary Cutanea Life Sciences Inc. in the USA in March will also contribute to sales growth in the future. At the time, analyst Holger Steffen from SMC Research described this step as successful, since Biofrontera’s US sales team can now offer several products at the same time.


With a share price of around EUR 7, analyst Steffen sees the price target at EUR 9.20. In his view, the current offer from major shareholder Maruho should only be accepted by investors with a short-term investment horizon.


Deutsche Balaton AG, Biofrontera’s major shareholder, also expressed criticism of Maruho’s plans at an extraordinary general meeting in mid-May. In our opinion, Maruho is not a reliable partner for a trusting cooperation, but a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ who has been pursuing the plan for years to grow Biofrontera using questionable means, the smallest possible capital investment and with the help of self-interested support from members of Biofrontera AG’s executive bodies to the detriment of all other shareholders,” says Rolf Birkert, CEO of Deutsche Balaton AG.


Deutsche Balaton AG has been one of the critics of Biofrontera’s management for years, which prompted Biofrontera boss Hermann Lübbert to make a pointed comment when he recommended that the shareholders accept Maruho’s offer: “Unlike a previous bidder, Maruho Industry know-how and is not aiming for a comprehensive reshuffle of the Management Board and Supervisory Board.”


Lübbert also emphasized that a “mutual high degree of reliability and trust” is one of the main reasons for his recommendation to the shareholders, because – he concedes – the offer can be described as insufficient from the point of view of the price alone.

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