Although US Oncology last month signed a $1.7 billion merger agreement with Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, an unidentified third party may still be considering a bid to purchase the Houston-based cancer-care company. According to a US Oncology regulatory filing, the merger agreement allowed the company to solicit alternative acquisition proposals from March 20 until April 6. During that time, the company's financial adviser, Merrill Lynch & Co., contacted 39 potential buyers and signed confidentiality agreements with two. Neither potential buyer provided written indications of interest during the solicitation period, and one eventually dropped out. US Oncology said in the filing that the other unidentified bidder is conducting due diligence and might continue to do so. If US Oncology accepts an alternative bid, it would have to pay Welsh, Carson a $12 million breakup fee. -- by Julie Piotrowski
US Oncology might get alternative buyout offer
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