Bristol-Myers says shareholders vote to approve Celgene takeover


FILE PHOTO: Logo of global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is pictured at the headquarters in Le Passage, near Agen, France March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s shareholders voted to approve the drugmaker’s $74 billion takeover of biotech Celgene Corp on Friday despite a campaign by activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP to scuttle the deal.

The company said investors holding 75.7 percent of its shares had voted in favor of the deal in a preliminary count.

Celgene said separately in a statement that its shareholders representing more than 70 percent of its shares outstanding who were entitled to vote, voted in favor of the transaction.

It also said it expects the deal to close in the third quarter.

Bristol-Myers announced in early January that it planned to buy Celgene in a cash and stock transaction to bring together companies that specialize in oncology and cardiovascular drugs in what would be the largest pharmaceutical industry merger ever.

But Starboard and the company’s second largest shareholder, Wellington Management, opposed the deal. Starboard abandoned a campaign against the deal after proxy advisory firms recommended investors support it.

Bristol-Myers said during a shareholders meeting that it does not expect changes to its dividend policy after the acquisition.

Reporting by Michael Erman and Svea Herbst-Bayliss, writing by Caroline Humer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot

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