A major shareholder of Corixa yesterday said that GlaxoSmithKline's bid to acquire the Seattle biotech for $300 million, or $4.40 a share, undervalues the company.

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A major shareholder of Corixa yesterday said that GlaxoSmithKline’s bid to acquire the Seattle biotech for $300 million, or $4.40 a share, undervalues the company.

MPM BioEquities Adviser said it will vote its 1.1 million shares, representing a 1.9 percent stake in Corixa, against the proposed acquisition.

MPM pegs fair value for Corixa at about $6.50 a share and said it is seeking a meeting with the board to review its concerns.

The proxy vote on the merger proposal is set for July 12.

“We think our offer price is fair,” said Chris Hunter-Ward, a spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, which is Corixa’s largest shareholder with 12.15 million shares.


5-year pact reached

with steelworkers

Kaiser Aluminum, which locked out its Spokane workers during a bitter labor dispute that began in the late 1990s and helped plunge the company into bankruptcy protection, has reached a five-year labor agreement with those and other employees represented by the Steelworkers union.

Coupled with last week’s announcement of a six-year deal to continue supplying aluminum to Airbus, it is another encouraging step in the company’s plan to emerge from Chapter 11 protection later this year.

Workers have ratified the contracts, which include a 14 percent pay increase over the five years, maintenance of current health benefits, and a $1,000 ratification bonus, plus profit sharing, said David Foster, district director for the steelworkers. Steelworkers also will get to place four people on the company’s board.

The new contracts cover more than 800 steelworkers — more than half in Spokane and the rest at Kaiser plants in Newark, Ohio; Richmond, Va.; and Tulsa, Okla.

Nation / World


Production pledge

fails to cool market

OPEC failed to cool the sizzling global energy market yesterday with pledges to increase its crude production target by half a million barrels a day and consider a second boost of that size later this year.

Instead, oil prices rose following the cartel’s decision to raise its daily output ceiling from 27.5 million barrels to 28 million barrels, beginning July 1.

Oil rose 60 cents to $55.60 per barrel in New York.

Analysts derided yesterday’s decision by the 11-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as purely symbolic, since the group already is exceeding the higher quota.

“I think it’s just a gesture. They just want to let the world know that they care,” said John Hall, a British energy consultant who contends OPEC had to raise the quota or risk sending prices even higher.

OPEC President Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah insisted the group was committed to “protecting the market” and said heavy demand by China is a major factor behind the high prices.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Reuters