McKesson working on plan to end standoff over Celesio - sources

FRANKFURT Wed Jan 8, 2014 7:54am EST

FRANKFURT Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. drugs wholesale group McKesson is preparing to offer concessions to hedge fund Elliott to save its planned acquisition of Germany-based peer Celesio, three people familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.

Elliott, which has amassed a stake large enough to block the deal, has said it rejects the $8.3 billion bid in its current form.

"McKesson is budging, they are working actively on a solution," one of the sources said.

Celesio shares extended gains on the news and traded 5.5 percent higher at 23.65 euros ($32.18) at 1248 GMT.

McKesson in October offered 23 euro per Celesio share in a bid backed by Celesio's majority investor Franz Haniel & Cie , seeking to forge a global leader in drugs distribution to boost its bargaining power with pharma majors.

Time is running out because McKesson has set a Thursday night deadline for Celesio shares to be tendered. It has made its bid contingent on getting at least 75 percent of Celesio's shares, including those from convertible bonds.

San Francisco-based McKesson was not immediately available for comment outside business hours. Celesio and Elliott declined to comment.

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