Roche buys back shares as family group reduces voting stake in drugmaker


Roche buys back shares as family group reduces voting stake in drugmaker

ZURICH, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Roche (ROG.S) has bought 540,000 of its own shares, the company said on Friday, as a member of its controlling family group scaled back their investment in voting shares at the pharmaceuticals maker.

The Roche Long Term Foundation, which buys shares for the equity component of staff’s compensation plans, bought 20% of the 2.7 million bearer shares put up for sale by a member of the Hoffmann-Oeri family.

The total shares on offer were equivalent to 2.5% of the voting equity of the cancer drug maker.

A member of the family shareholding group – heirs of Roche founder Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche – sold part of their stake in the accelerated book build run by UBS.

“Following this transaction, the shareholder group with pooled voting rights owns circa 65% (previously 67.5%) of the issued share capital of Roche,” the company said on Friday.

“The bearer shares bought by Roche will be held as treasury shares. These shares will not be canceled.”

Roche did not comment on which family member sold the stake, or whether further sales were planned. No details were given of the other buyers of remaining shares offered in the sales.

The shares were bought for 307 francs per share, a discount of 7.6% to the closing share price of bearer shares on Thursday, giving Roche’s acquisition a value of 165.78 million Swiss francs ($180 million).

Bearer shares at Roche, which make up 13.2% of the company’s share capital, come with voting rights and are traded separately to the more common ordinary shares which carry only a financial interest.

($1 = 0.9210 Swiss francs)

Reporting by John Revill

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Source: Reuters