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Bausch + Lomb To Acquire ISTA In Cash Deal

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Bausch + Lomb Monday agreed to acquire ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ISTA), swooping in with a higher offer for the eye-care company deal less than two months after a rival suitor withdrew its bid. ISTA shares jumped 7.8% to $9.03 after hours, slightly below Bausch + Lomb's $9.10 per-share offer price, which offers more than $380 million for Ista's outstanding shares. That values the company at a roughly 134% premium over its close Dec. 15, the day before ISTA confirmed its was weighing its strategic options. The latest offer comes after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX, VRX.T) withdrew a sweetened bid for the eye-care company. Valeant in January raised its offer for ISTA to $7.50 a share, with a target of $8.50 subject to due diligence. ISTA at the time said it would continue to review Valeant's offer, valued at up to $353 million, but said it would remain in talks with a number of parties that expressed interest in a strategic transaction. Basch + Lomb's deal, expected to close in the second quarter, won unanimous approval from both companies' boards. Basch + Lomb said the deal benefits from the two companies' complementary development pipelines. The companies plan to continue operating independently until the deal closes. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909;

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