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Lilly's Imclone acquisition could close Monday

November 21, 2008

Eli Lilly and Co. won more than 95.5 percent of the shares of New York-based ImClone Systems Inc. in a tender offer that ended at midnight yesterday. Lilly expects to complete its acquisition of ImClone on Monday.

Indianapolis-based Lilly has agreed to pay $70 in cash for each share of ImClone, or $6.3 billion for the whole company. The deal was announced in October after Lilly outbid New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Analysts have been skeptical of whether ImClone's biotech cancer drugs will produce enough sales to justify the high purchase price. But Lilly CEO John Lechleiter said the merger will create "an oncology powerhouse."

Moody's Investors Service today downgraded the long-term debt rating for Lilly to "A1" from "Aa3" because Lilly will take on extra debt to finance the ImClone acquisition. Lilly said earlier it would need to borrow $2 billion to $3 billion to make the acquisition.

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