May-hem - Sterling Collapses

There is news today from India, Britain, Israeli, Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Hong Kong, Mexico and a few other places like Nevada. Monday's blog will be from Portugal.

Deals

If Britain's Standard Life cannot get its planned merger of its sub HDFC Life of India with Max Life and its controlled sub Max Financial Service past the regulators, SLFPY may just float off its 35% stake in HDFC Life in Bombay. It began the process 13 mos ago and had planned to wind up with 25% of the future combos. Permits have been denied by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in New Delhi which block it because both sides of the deal are not pure insurance companies but also manage money.

Stada Artzneimittel's takeover bid was extended for 2 weeks and the target takeup cut from 75% to 62.5% because the small shareholders who own the stock are hard to reach--to say nothing of STADF ADR owners. I have tendered with myFidelity which promised to do better than the last time I got a cash offer for a European drug company a decade ago, and was forced to sell in the wrong currency.

JP Morgan upgraded Ormat to outperform from neutral with a $71 target price. ORA is a bonus stock, US incorporated but now Israeli controlled; it will become part Japanese under a planned deal. The report I got earlier this week was garbled.

Drug Stocks

GlaxoSmithKline, a dollar earner, rose 2.7% in London today as sterling collapsed over the prospect of a hung parliament, aka May-hem.

Teva is up sharply over the past two days despite worries about how detail men in the US over-promoted painkillers which risk raising addiction levels. This is because it named 4 new board members to beef up its pharma expertise. According to Dow Jones, they are: Murray Goldberg, former chief financial officer at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Roberto Mignone, managing partner of health-care hedge fund Bridger Management LLC; and Perry Nissen, a former GSK R&D official who now leads the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, Calif. The fourth nominee is Chemi Peres, managing partner of Israel's Pitango Venture Capital, an investor in health care and information technology.

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