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Matrixx ups takeover bid of ProPhase to $1.60 per share

BY Michael Johnsen

SKILLMAN, N.J. — Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday announced its second overture to ProPhase Labs with an increased acquisition offer of $1.60 per share. The revised offer represents a premium of 51.7% over the 30-day average closing price of ProPhase’s stock and a 53.7% premium to ProPhase’s average closing price over the 12 months preceding Sept. 6 — the day ProPhase’s former chairman and CEO, Guy Quigley, filed a Schedule 13D announcing Matrixx’s purchase of a three-year option to acquire 1.45 million shares of ProPhase common stock.

On Sept. 4, Matrixx purchased for $200,000 a three-year option to acquire the shares for $1.40 per share from Quigley. Matrixx also acquired from Quigley a voting proxy to vote the shares subject to the option.

Matrixx initially had proposed an all-cash acquisition of ProPhase for $1.40 per share on May 29.

The danger in entertaining such a proposal, ProPhase announced in September, is that it makes nonpubilc, competitive information available to a direct competitor as a pre-condition to the sale. Both Matrixx and ProPhase field the two best known zinc gluconate brands — Zicam and Cold-Eeze, respectively.

ProPhase also stated that Matrixx had undervalued the company at $1.40 per share. "It is the current shareholders of ProPhase, not the private equity owners of one of our primary competitors, who should benefit from the future potential created by our current strategies," ProPhase chairman and CEO Ted Karkus said in the Sept. 17 statement. "We preserved the Cold-Eeze brand, then we repositioned the brand and now we are successfully growing and leveraging the brand."

Regarding its revised offer, Matrixx CEO Marylou Arnett said, "We believe our revised all-cash offer is highly attractive to ProPhase shareholders and we hope to commence discussions with ProPhase at the earliest opportunity. Our offer is especially attractive when considering that we believe ProPhase faces significant challenges by remaining as a standalone entity, including lack of scale, an unsustainable financial model and limited liquidity. We continue to believe that a combination of ProPhase and Matrixx presents an exciting opportunity for our respective employees, business partners and other constituencies while delivering significant and certain value to ProPhase shareholders."

In a letter to ProPhase, Matrixx stated: "We believe this revised all-cash offer, which is not contingent on financing, is highly attractive to the company’s shareholders, as it provides them with compelling upfront and certain value relative to a difficult, uncertain and highly speculative multiyear turnaround program you have recently outlined. In fact, we believe that ProPhase faces significant challenges by remaining a standalone entity."


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Meijer partners with PrescribeWellness in flu shot campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — A group pushing to increase the number of people vaccinated against influenza has a deal with a Midwestern retailer to encourage vaccination in the region.

PrescribeWellness announced Tuesday that Meijer had joined its "A Million More" flu shot initiative. The partnership with Meijer will include a campaign at all 199 Meijer pharmacies in the Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky markets and is targeted toward young, healthy people who don’t feel at risk for serious illness, encouraging them to get flu shots to protect people who are at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot, particularly to prevent the flu in those who are at risk of serious complications, such as infants and the elderly.

"More than 70% of healthcare costs are controllable with personal actions," PrescribeWellness CEO Al Babbington said. "The healthcare debate is surging right now, so this is the time to raise awareness about the importance of preventative health care and how something as simple as getting a flu shot can help lower the cost of care."

The campaign also includes a contest that runs through Dec. 31 in which patients who check in at the pharmacy through Facebook will be entered into a random drawing to win $1 million.

"Meijer is proud to support the ‘A Million More’ vaccination campaign because it highlights our commitment to offering healthy living solutions to our customers," Meijer VP pharmacy operations Karen Mankowski said. "The flu shot is a powerful yet simple way to create healthier communities, and our customers can get one at their convenience at all Meijer pharmacies."


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Mentholatum gearing up for holiday gift-giving with two new holiday flavors chosen by FB fans

BY Michael Johnsen

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Mentholatum on Tuesday launched its new Softlips Jack Frosting lip balm, Softlips peppermint stick lip balm and Softlips holiday gift tag packs that will be available in November in time for the holiday shopping season.

"Our holiday gift tag packs make it easy to share the holiday spirit," Mentholatum director innovation Katherine Tocheff said. "And we hope to provide more opportunities for fans to vote for new flavors like Softlips Jack Frosting and Softlips peppermint stick. Our goal is to provide new products for new occasions, all year long."

The two new lip balms flavors should get good traction among consumers as they were both selected by fans on Facebook. Softlips Jack Frosting, featuring a buttercream frosting flavor, was the winner of the "Flavor Faceoff," a contest conducted on Facebook in June 2012. Softlips peppermint stick, another "Flavor Faceoff" favorite, offers a candy cane taste and comes in a unique, red and white striped stick.

Softlips Jack Frosting will be available to consumers in a two-pack, while Softlips peppermint stick will be paired with the company’s best-selling Softlips pearl tint.

The Softlips holiday gift tag packs are limited-edition packs that combine a Softlips classic flavor with a bonus Softlips seasonal stick and feature "to and from" spaces on the packaging for gift giving.

All Softlips holiday products will be priced at a suggested retail price of less than $5 and feature festive graphics.

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