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Amag: Hedge Fund Makes Takeover Bid

Stocks in this article: AMAG ALTH NEOP SRLS

Updated with more information.

LEXINGTON, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Hedge fund MSMB Capital made an unsolicited, $18-a-share offer for Amag Pharmaceuticals (AMAG) as an alternative to Amag's previously announced plan to merge with Allos Therapeutics (ALTH).

The MSMB Capital offer represents a 25% premium to Amag's Aug. 2 closing share price of $14.39. Amag shares were up 11% to $16 in Wednesday pre-marketing trading.

"MSMB is a long-term investor in Amag and believes that the management's current strategy does not protect the interests of Amag's stockholders or ensure Amag's long-term viability. I believe that our offer is superior and more beneficial to Amag's stockholders than the proposed no-premium merger between Amag and Allos Therapeutics," said MSMB chief investment officer Martin Shkreli in a letter sent to Amag management.

Amag, in a statement, acknowledged receipt of the takeover proposal and said it would evaluate the offer.

On July 20, Amag announced plans to merge with Allos in an all-stock deal that valued Allos at $2.44 a share, or $260 million. Yet questions about the rationale behind the proposed deal left many investors and Amag shareholders puzzled, even angry.

Amag shares have lost 25% of their value since the July 20 merger proposal with Allos was made public. Even Allos shares have fallen 8%, suggesting the deal lacks shareholder support and stands a good chance of never being consummated.

Amag has struggled to market its iron replacement therapy Feraheme since approval and launch in July 2009. Likewise, sales of Allos' lymphoma drug Folotyn have been a major disappointment since FDA approved the drug in September 2009.

MSMB Capital, led by fund manager Shkreli, has ramped up shareholder activism in recent months. Shkreli has been public about shorting Neoprobe (NEOP) and even took the extraordinary step of filing a citizen's petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking to stop the agency from reviewing Neoprobe's lymph-node mapping agent.

In June, MSMB Capital made an unsolicited takeover offer for SeraCare Life Sciences (SRLS). Following that proposal, Seracare's CEO resigned and the company announced it was putting itself up for sale.

One Amag shareholder, not affiliated with MSMB Capital and with no direct knowledge of the firm's offer, said he'd be willing to sell his Amag stake for $20 a share.

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