Caremark Rx Inc. said Monday it doesn't believe a purchase offer by the prescription benefits manager Express Scripts Inc. is in the best interests of its shareholders and it will continue pursuing a combination with CVS Corp.
"The Express Scripts proposal does not constitute, and is not reasonably likely to lead to, a superior proposal," Caremark said in a statement. "The board has unanimously concluded that pursuing discussions with Express Scripts is not in the best financial or strategic interests of Caremark and its shareholders."
Express Scripts released a statement in response, saying, "Caremark stockholders and the marketplace as a whole have demonstrated their strong support for our offer, which clearly provides Caremark stockholders with superior value to the proposed acquisition of Caremark by CVS Corp."
Express Scripts also said it believes Caremark is attempting to use antitrust as a red herring to distract stockholders from the real value differential at issue.
Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS, the nation's largest operator of drugstores, said on Nov. 1 that it planned to acquire Nashville-based Caremark for about $21.2 billion in stock. On Dec. 18, Express Scripts offered $26 billion in stock and cash.
Analysts say Caremark managers prefer the CVS offer, while shareholders like the Express Scripts deal better. A pension company with a block of Caremark stock has gone to federal court to try to stop the CVS deal.
"Caremark stockholders and the marketplace as a whole have demonstrated their strong support for our offer, which clearly provides Caremark stockholders with superior value to the proposed acquisition of Caremark by CVS," Express Scripts said in a separate statement.
The company's offer provides Caremark stockholders with a premium of approximately 13 percent to the proposed CVS acquisition price.