("Australia's Biota, Nabi Pharmaceuticals Plan Merger," at 2313 GMT, misstated the return to shareholders in the final paragraph. The correct version follows:)
Australian drug development company Biota Holdings Ltd. (>> Biota Holdings Ltd.) said Monday it plans to merge with Nabi Biopharmaceuticals (NABI) to form a combined company to be listed on Nasdaq.
Biota said in a statement the move to the U.S. was designed to achieve better value recognition and liquidity through a stronger U.S. shareholder base.
"We believe this is a necessary step to increase our options for the development and commercialization of our product portfolio and will ultimately improve the recognition of the underlying value of our product portfolio for our shareholders," said Biota Chairman Jim Fox.
Biota develops anti influenza drugs such as Relenza, which is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline PLC.
Under the merger, Nabi will acquire all the shares in Biota for new shares in the name of Biota Pharmaceuticals, a Nasdaq listed company. Biota shareholders will own about 74% of Biota Pharmaceuticals and Nabi shareholders will own about 26% of the company.
Under the proposed merger Nabi will bring US$54 million to the new company, and excess cash, estimated to be around US$30 million, would be returned to existing Nabi shareholders.
-By Gavin Lower, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-3-9292-2095; firstname.lastname@example.org