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A Greek Lawyer Managing a Little-Known Investment Fund Wants to Buy Vivus for $640 Million

By: Adam Feuerstein | 05/28/14 - 10:37 AM EDT

Stocks in this article: VVUS

Blog post amended to correctly characterize Aspen's Vivus ownership stake. 

Aspen Investments and Zoi Potsi, a resident of Cyprus, declared a 9.65% ownership stake in struggling obesity pill marketer Vivus (VVUS) this morning and say they want to buy the rest of the company for $640 million. 

Interesting takeout offer, but is it serious? Vivus shares are up just 4% to $4.87 after Aspen's 13-D SEC filing was reported. 

Aspen Investment is a limited liability corporation registered in Delaware on May 16, 2014. Aspen's registered address appears to be a blue house situated against a marsh near the Delaware coastline. 

Zoe Potsi might be a lawyer living in Cyprus, according to this LinkedIn profile. She appears to work for this law firm.

According to the 13-D filed today, Aspen Investments owns 9.96 million shares of Vivus, or 9.65% of the company, sort of. The filing says a majority of Aspen's Vivus stake is in forward purchase contracts and not actual company shares. Aspen began buying a stake in Vivus on May 16 at $4.88 per share and continued buying through May 23 at $4.62 per share. Aspen also owns Vivus options. 

As for the takeover offer, here's what Aspen says in the filing:

Aspen Investment Fund is currently contemplating a conditional non-binding offer to acquire the Issuer at a total consideration of $640 million, which would be financed using Aspen Investment Fund working capital, Issuers cash & cash equivalents and debt from top tier investment banks. The conditional non-binding offer should be submitted to the board by June 13, 2014. Although Aspen Investment Fund currently expects to make an offer, it is under no obligation and provides no assurances it will do so, if there are any material changes to the Issuers operations, financial situation or enterprise value.

Vivus executives have not yet been reached for comment, but I will update when I hear from them. 

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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