* Royalty withdraws appeal against Irish regulator's ruling
* Ends bitter battle, Royalty can still join formal process
* Elan has "more than one interested party" - source
* Elan shares down 0.2 percent
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, June 18 U.S.-based Royalty Pharma has
dropped a hostile bid worth up to $8 billion for Elan,
leaving the Irish drug maker free to seek other suitors having
put itself up for sale last week.
Royalty on Tuesday withdrew its appeal against a
ruling by Ireland's regulator on takeovers, meaning the offer
automatically lapses and bringing an end to a bitter, four-month
battle that involved court hearings, injunctions and a war of
words between the two sides.
The end of that saga heralds a new takeover battle for Elan,
which has invited bids and has interest from "more than one
interested party," according to a source familiar with the
Under Irish Takeover Panel rules, Royalty is not permitted
to submit another hostile bid for Elan for 12 months once its
current offer lapses. Elan has said Royalty can take part in the
sale process. Royalty did not say if it intended to do so and a
spokesman for the company had no further comment.
The New York-based investment firm had made its offer
contingent on Elan shareholders rejecting all resolutions put to
a vote at a meeting on Monday, but the owners narrowly backed
one of the proposals, for a share buyback.
Royalty had said its bid should be contingent on only two of
the resolutions relating to acquisitions - both of which were
rejected - but the Irish Takeover Panel had said it could not
modify the terms at that stage of the takeover contest.
Royalty subsequently appealed against this ruling, a move
which it has now dropped.
"Royalty Pharma announced today that it had withdrawn its
request for a judicial review of the Irish Takeover Panel's
decision requiring it to lapse its offer for Elan Corporation,"
it said in a statement.
Elan, which rejected a third increased bid last week, has
fended off Royalty, but shareholders have wrecked its original
plan to spend the proceeds of a major drug sale on a string of
The Dublin-based firm set out on a spending spree last month
after selling its 50 percent interest in multiple sclerosis drug
Tysabri to U.S. partner Biogen Idec for $3.25 billion
plus royalty rights.
But its owners overwhelmingly rejected a proposed $1 billion
royalties deal with U.S. company Theravance Inc, the
purchase of private drug firm AOP Orphan and a drug spin-off
aimed at cutting operating costs.
The Theravance deal, which would have given Elan 21 percent
of the royalties the U.S. firm is due to receive from
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for its respiratory drugs, was
rejected by 72 percent of shareholders.
Its agreed purchase of Austrian rare drug specialist AOP
Orphan for 263.5 million euros ($351.7 million) was voted down
by a similarly wide margin. By contrast, just 50.1 percent of
shareholders supported the buyback.
Even before those votes, Elan kicked off its sale process on
Friday, having said days earlier that it had received
expressions of interest from other parties.
Royalty's bid had offered $13 in cash per share as well as a
"contingent value right" that could add a further $2.50 per
share if blockbuster drug Tysabri hit certain sales milestones.
Elan shares were 0.2 percent lower at 10.06 euros by 1150