Shareholders in Japan's Chugai Pharmaceutical Company have overwhelmingly approved an alliance with Swiss giant, Roche.
At a meeting in Tokyo on Thursday, ninety per cent of shareholders voted to accept the merger, three weeks after Roche increased its tender offer to buy a majority stake of 50.1 per cent in the Japanese company.
Earlier this month, Roche upped its offer by 31 per cent to 2,800 yen per share (SFr35) from 2,136 yen originally offered in December 2001.
Roche plans to purchase ten per cent of Chugai's 30 million outstanding shares for 2,800 yen per share, in a bid to improve its position in Japan, the world's second-largest pharmaceutical market after the United States.
The deal sees the Basel-based firm return to the ranks of the world's top ten drug companies.
Nippon Roche and Chugai will now merge to create the fourth largest pharmaceutical company in Japan.
Based on 2000 figures, the combined businesses will have global pro forma sales of SFr20.5 billion for Roche's global pharmaceutical division and SFr30.4 billion for Roche Group in total.
The new company will keep the name Chugai, but will use the tag line "a member of the Roche Group".
swissinfo with agencies