Bayer backs out from bidding war with Reckitt Benckiser over US vitamins maker Schiff Nutrition

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG today backed out from a bidding war with Reckitt Benckiser for US vitamins maker Schiff Nutrition International.

"Bayer AG's Board of Management has decided not to propose any increase" to its offer, the North Rhine-Westphalia-based company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Explaining the reason for not increasing its offer, Bayer said in the filing, "Entering a competitive bidding process in response to the November 18 Proposal (Reckitt's bid) would result in a price outside Bayer's set financial criteria."

In late October, Bayer's US subsidiary, Bayer HealthCare, offered to buy Schiff Nutrition for $34 per share, a 47-per cent premium to the Salt Lake City-based company's 29 October closing price of $23.19..

The purchase price included $154.85 million to $167.75 million debt, and the offer was approved by the board of Schiff Nutrition.

On 15 November,  Anglo-Dutch household products and drugs group, Reckitt Benckiser, tabled a $42-per share in cash or $1.4 billion counter-bid - 23.5 per cent higher than Bayer's offer.