MiddleBrook Sinks as Buyout Hopes Fade

The drugmaker, which had been up for sale, instead takes a $100 million equity investment. The stock sinks.
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MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals (MBRK) couldn't find a buyer.

The Germantown, Md.-based drugmaker said Wednesday that an outside investment group will pump $100 million into the company to fund the commercial launch of its recently approved antibiotic Moxatag on its own.

The announcement means that an

outright sale of MiddleBrook

is off the table -- disappointing news that sent MiddleBrook shares tumbling in premarket trading Wednesday.

The stock was losing $1.58, or 51.5%, to $1.49 in recent trading before the opening bell.

For most of this year, MiddleBrook had been seeking offers to acquire the company from larger, more diversified specialty pharmaceutical firms interested in launching Moxatag, a proprietary, once-daily version of the antibiotic amoxicillin that was approved for sale by U.S. regulators in January.

The guessing game around who might buy MiddleBrook and at what price attracted speculative-minded investors and lit a fire under the company's stock price, which soared almost fivefold to just under $5 this spring.

While there was never a set buyout price for MiddleBrook, many investors hoped to see the company find a buyer willing to pay $6-$8 a share for the company.

Wednesday, however, MiddleBrook said Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm founded by Chicago financier Sam Zell, was buying a $100 million equity stake in the company at $3.30 a share.

MiddleBrook will use the money to build its own commercial team to launch and sell Moxatag in the U.S.

As part of the transaction, current MiddleBrook CEO Edward Rudnic is leaving the company, replaced by John Thievon, a drug company executive most recently with

Adams Respiratory Therapeutics


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