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Small Declines for Healthcare Stocks; Sterigenics Raises Nordion Offer by 6% to $805 Mln

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +0.34%

PFE +0.40%

ABT -0.80%

MRK -0.36%

AMGN -0.09%

Healthcare stocks were slightly lower, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index retreating about 0.2% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 falling about 0.2% as a group.

In company news, Nordion Inc. (NDZ,NDN.TO) shares rose to some of their best levels in more than five years after Sterigenics again raised its offer for the Canadian medical-isotopes supplier after its previous bid failed to win sufficient support for a deal.

Privately-held Sterigenics is now offering $13 a share in cash for NDZ, or about $805 million overall, up about 6% over its prior offer of $12.25 a share. Sterigenics two weeks ago increased its original offer of $11.75 a share by 50 cents.

The companies said although a clear majority of NDZ shareholders supported the $12.25 per share offer, the proposal came up just short of garnering the necessary two-thirds vote by the May 30 proxy deadline with 65.2% of the shares cast voting for the deal. The improved bid is being funded through a combination of new debt and equity financing as well as cash on hand at both Sterigenics and NDZ.

Connected with the new offer, the NDZ board has rescheduled its special meeting of shareholders until Friday, June 6, in order to give shareholders who haven't yet voted the opportunity to do so or to reconsider their previous negative votes.

NDZ shares were up 7.7% in recent trade at $12.87 apiece, just 7 cents off its session high and reaching its best price since September 2008. NDN.TO shares were ahead just more than 8.5% at C$14.01 each in Toronto this afternoon, earlier climbing to a five-year high of C$14.27 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) NPSP, (+5.0%) The Financial Times reports Shire plc ( SHPG ) is interested in a takeover of the drugmaker, recently setting up a $5 bln credit facility with bank consortium led by Citigroup to finance a prospective deal.

(-) CLVS, (-9.3%) CEO Pat Mahaffay this weekend reportedly tells analysts "three or four" lung cancer patients participating in the company's Phase I/II study of its CO-1686 drug candidate are taking insulin to control high blood sugar.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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