Attempted Friendly Takeover Leads to Bad Blood between B. Braun and Rhön Clinics

June 27, 2013 – 2:15 pm

The fight between medical device manufacturer B. Braun (Melsungen, Germany) and Rhön (Bad Neustadt, Germany), which runs a chain of clinics in Germany, continues to escalate.

The ruckus started last year, when B. Braun competitor Fresenius tried to take over Rhön with an offer of €3.1 billion. While Rhön welcomed the takeover, B. Braun, holding about 5% of Rhön stocks, successfully blocked the attempt in collaboration with clinic group Asklepios. This was possible because of Rhön’s unusual bylaws, requiring a majority of 90% of shares for important strategic decisions. At the annual stockholders meeting on 12 June 2013, the delegates surprisingly agreed to alter the clause to a required majority of 75%, as is common in Germany. This decision would have paved way for another takeover attempt. B. Braun delegates were not allowed to vote because of a technical error, and the company will now fight that decision in court.

Acquiring Rhön would make Fresenius Germany’s largest clinic group. B. Braun competes with Fresenius in the medical device sector, and it reportedly would forfeit between €10 and 30 million if it lost Rhön as a client. But that might happen regardless. In an interview earlier this week, Eugen Münch, Chairman of Rhön’s supervisory board, threatened to strike B. Braun from its supplier list.

— Thomas Klein

 

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