Immunex Settles Three Lawsuits
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SEATTLE (AP) _ Immunex Corp. has settled three lawsuits challenging its merger with Amgen Inc., Immunex said Monday.
The lawsuits filed in King County Superior Court claimed that the Immunex board had failed to get the best price for shareholders in negotiations with Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm.
The plaintiffs in each lawsuit agreed to settle for the cost of their attorney fees and court expenses, Immunex spokesman Josh Schroeter said Monday.
``The company wouldn’t go through with the deal if we didn’t think we were getting a fair price,″ Schroeter said Monday, adding that such shareholder lawsuits over mergers are common.
In connection with the settlements, Immunex and Amgen also agreed to reduce from $475 million to $455 million the amount either would have to pay for backing out of the deal. Immunex also obtained a new assessment from Merrill Lynch of the benefit of the merger to shareholders, and it agreed to provide more information on the merger in a filing Monday with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Amgen announced in December that it planned to buy Immunex for $16 billion in cash and stock. The companies say they expect the deal to close by the end of the year.
None of the plaintiffs in the three lawsuits _ David Osher, Adele Brody and Edwin Weiner _ could be reached for comment Monday night.
Amgen develops and makes medicines based on advances in cellular and molecular biology. Immunex is a biopharmaceutical firm specializing in the immune system.
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