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Updated from 11:16 a.m. EDT

King Pharmaceuticals

( KG) on Thursday increased its bid for pain drug company



, taking the matter straight to shareholders in the latest aggressive advance in the big pharma sector.

King's board has authorized a tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Class A Common Stock of Alpharma for $37 a share, an offer that already has

been rejected

by the company.

The new offer is a 67% premium to Alpharma's closing price on Aug. 4, the day of King's private written proposal to Alpharma, and a 54% premium over the closing price on Aug. 21, the last trading day before it was publicly made known.

"We have determined it is necessary to take our enhanced offer directly to Alpharma stockholders in order to deliver significant value to them as expeditiously as possible," King CEO Brian Markison said in a company statement.

Although King said the company has declined the latest enhanced offer, Alpharma issued a statement Thursday afternoon urging shareholders not to take action until it can announce its official position. The board said it would review the proposal with its financial and legal advisors and make a recommendation within 10 business days.

King's hostile takeover attempt comes a day after



rejected a

Bristol-Myers Squibb


bid of $60 a share after receiving a better offer. The company said a mystery bidder had offered $70 a share.

Meanwhile, Biotech's golden child


( DNA) is still mulling


$89-a-share bid.

King in August announced that it had bid $33 a share, giving Alpharma an equity value of $1.4 billion. Alpharma rejected that bid, and Markison upped the ante to $37 a share, giving Alpharma a total equity value of $1.6 billion. The new offer had a provision to allow Alpharma to solicit third-party offers after inking the merger for an agreed upon period.

Alpharma privately rejected the new bid, and Markison made good on his threat to take the matter straight to Alpharma shareholders.

King's shares closed Thursday down 4.4% at $10.76, while Alpharma closed the regular session up 4.5% at $37.34.