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Private equity firm EQT launches $654 million cash bid for Sweden's Karo Pharma

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Private equity firm EQT on Monday made a recommended 5.97 billion Swedish crown (509.52 million pounds)cash bid to buy Swedish speciality pharma group Karo Pharma <KARO.ST>.

The offer, made by the EQTVIII fund and unanimously recommended by Karo Pharma’s board, represents a 25.3 percent premium to Karo’s closing price on Friday.

“We are delighted that the Board of Directors has decided to recommend EQTVIII’s offer,” EQT partner Per Franzen said in a statement.

“We are impressed by Karo Pharma’s development and successful strategic transformation from an early stage research and development company into a leading speciality pharmaceutical company with a strong product portfolio and European reach.”

EQT said that Karo Pharma Chairman Anders Lonner and board member Per-Anders Johansson, together representing in total 13.6 percent of shares and votes in the company, had declared they intended to accept the bid.

The acceptance period is expected to run between Nov. 13 and Dec. 10 and requires EQT to take ownership of 90 percent of the shares. It said it does not currently own or control any shares in Karo Pharma.

($1 = 9.1291 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom, editing by Louise Heavens)

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