Salix Pharmaceuticals shareholders wasted little time this morning in rejecting a proposed board of directors from Axcan Pharmaceuticals, which is seeking to take over the drug company.
According to preliminary results released by Salix and the firm monitoring results, more than 92 percent of votes went for the existing Salix board. The shareholders also rejected a change in bylaws recommended by Axcan, which is based in Canada.
The Salix board has been firm in its stand against the Axcan takeover offer of $10.50 a share.
Salix stock was down slightly, to $11.70, in early afternoon trading.
In a statement,Leon Gosselin, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Axcan, reiterated his firm’s offer.
“While we are disappointed by the preliminary results of today’s meeting, we would like to thank Salix stockholders for their efforts and attention,” he said. “We believe that this period of communication and debate, fostered by our offer, has raised important issues concerning Salix’s past and future performance. We hope that the Salix Board of Directors will deliver the results its stockholders deserve and have been promised repeatedly.”
Gosselin said Axcan’s offer remains open through June 27.
Monitoring the voting was IVS Associates.
Bob Ruscher, executive chairman of the Salix board, hailed the vote.
“From its founding, Salix’s approach has been to focus on integrity, honesty, and quality. I believe that we have exemplified these attributes throughout this unfortunate action initiated by Axcan,” he said in a statement. “I am very proud of the way the Salix team responded in a professional manner to Axcan’s acts, while remaining focused on managing and growing our business. We believe that today’s stockholder vote, which was overwhelmingly in our favor, clearly shows the incredible support that our investors have for Salix’s Board, management team, and overall business plan.”