Big Story 10

German drugmaker Stada CEO's car was bugged: Manager Magazin

The logo of the pharmaceutical company Stada Arzneimittel AG is pictured at its headquarters in Bad Vilbel near Frankfurt March 14, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The chief executive of German drugmaker Stada, which has faced activist pressure to overhaul its strategy and has received two takeover approaches, was bugged, Germany’s Manager Magazin said on Thursday.

Manager Magazin said Matthias Wiedenfels, who became CEO last summer, found a bugging device in his car and received anonymous letters containing photographs that depicted him in private or confidential business situations. The magazine, which did not cite sources or say who was behind the bugging, said the incidents took place in the second half of last year.

Stada declined to comment.

Public prosecutors in the city of Giessen, who cover the city of Bad Vilbel where Stada is based, were not immediately available to comment.

The drugmaker is the subject of takeover approaches from two private equity consortia but has postponed the structured auction to give the bidders a chance to improve their offers.

Investors including Active Ownership Capital (AOC) have criticized Stada’s management through a high-pressure campaign which culminated in long-serving CEO Hartmut Retzlaff’s resignation last year. Retzlaff was replaced by Wiedenfels in June 2016.

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Patricia Weiss; Editing by Susan Fenton