Alere sues Abbott to force completion of $5.8B deal

Alere Inc. sued Abbott Laboratories claiming the medical-device maker failed to get U.S. antitrust clearance for their $5.8 billion merger agreement, potentially scuttling the controversial deal.

Abbott failed to “promptly secure antitrust approvals and other regulatory requirements,” Alere said in a filing Friday in Delaware Chancery Court.

The suit is another escalation in the months-long saga between the medical-device makers. After agreeing to buy Alere in January, Abbott has tried to get out of the agreement and has said Alere improperly withheld information needed to finalize the transaction. Abbott officials offered to pay as much as $50 million of Alere’s legal costs tied to the deal earlier this year, an offer that was was rejected by Alere’s board.

Alere sued to force Abbott to complete the merger agreement, which values Alere shares at $56 per share. The combination would create the most world’s biggest medical-testing firm. In April, Abbott also agreed to buy St. Jude Medical Inc. for $25 billion, raising further questions about the status of its Alere purchase.

“Alere will take all actions necessary to protect the interests of Alere shareholders, enforce Alere’s rights under the merger agreement and compel Abbott to complete the transaction in accordance with its terms,” the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said in a statement.

Officials of Abbott Park, Illinois-based Abbott weren’t immediately available for comment.

The suit was filed under seal late Thursday and details were disclosed in a filing on Friday.

The case is Alere Inc. v. Abbott Laboratories, CA 12691, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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