Posts Tagged ‘Spencer Capital Management’

VaxGen Inc (OTC:VXGN) is to be sold to Oxigene Inc (OTC.OXGN) for $22M in OXGN stock. The summary terms of the deal announced by OXGN are as follows:

  • OXGN will issue ~15.6M common shares in exchange for all outstanding VXGN common shares (~33.1M).
  • For each VXGN share held, VXGN shareholders receive 0.4719 OXGN shares.
  • OXGN closed yesterday at $1.37, valuing each VXGN share at  $0.65.

At closing OXGN will place an additional 8.5M shares of common stock in escrow to be released to VXGN stockholders contingent upon certain events over the 2 year period following the closing. Those events are the settlement of VXGN’s obligations under its lease of facilities in South San Francisco and the awarding of a procurement contract by the U.S. government to Emergent BioSolutions for which VXGN is eligible to receive certain milestone and royalty payments.

Of the 8.5M shares placed in escrow 2.7M shares are for the settlement of VXGNs lease facility obligations. The remaining 5.8M shares will be released if within two years following the closing of the transaction VXGN becomes entitled to receive a $3M milestone payment from Emergent BioSolutions. If the milestone is achieved VXGN shareholders will receive a further 1.9M shares plus additional shares based on the size of the contract awarded to Emergent up to a maximum of approximately 3.9M shares. Note that OXGN will be entitled to receive additional milestone payments and royalties from Emergent  for a period of 12 years from commercial sale with no obligations to issue additional shares to VXGN stockholders.

The fact that the deal was done at a discount to VXGN’s $0.70 close Wednesday and at a substantial discount to its $0.77 – $2.00 value in liquidation is frustrating. Perhaps most concerning, though, is the restriction on VXGN seeking a superior deal, clearly inserted to hamstring Value Investors for Change and the VaxGen Full Value Committee, the two competing alternate slates of directors for election to VXGN’s board. Here is the restriction in full:

The Merger Agreement contains certain termination rights for both VaxGen and OXiGENE, and further provides that, upon termination of the Merger Agreement under specified circumstances, including by VaxGen to pursue a superior transaction, as defined in the Merger Agreement (including a liquidation), or by OXiGENE to pursue a financing transaction with net proceeds of least $30 million, either party may be required to pay the other party a termination fee of $1,425,000 and to reimburse the other party’s expenses up to $325,000. In addition, in the event that VaxGen effects a liquidation within 180 days of the VaxGen special meeting of stockholders, it will be required to pay a termination fee of $712,500 and reimburse expenses.

If the merger doesn’t go through, the board of VXGN has committed VXGN to throwing away $2.5M of cash. It’s an appalling outcome for VXGN shareholders.

About our VXGN position

We’ve been following VXGN (see our post archive here) because it is trading at a substantial discount to its net cash position, has ended its cash-burning product development activities and is “seeking to maximize the value of its remaining assets through a strategic transaction or series of strategic transactions.” Management has said that, if the company is unable to identify and complete an alternate strategic transaction, it proposes to liquidate. One concern of ours has been a lawsuit against VXGN by its landlords, in which they sought $22.4M. That lawsuit was dismissed in May, so the path for VXGN to liquidate has now hopefully cleared. The board has, however, been dragging its feet on the liquidation. Given their relatively high compensation and almost non-existent shareholding, it’s not hard to see why.

There are two competing alternate proxy slates seeking nomination to the board of VXGN, Value Investors for Change and the VaxGen Full Value Committee. Value Investors for Change, led by Spencer Capital, filed preliminary proxy documents in August to remove the board. In the proxy documents, Value Investors for Change call out VXGN’s board on its “track record of failure and exorbitant cash compensation”:

VaxGen does not have any operations, other than preparing public reports. The Company has three employees, including the part-time principal executive officer and director, and four non-employee directors. Since the Company’s failed merger with Raven Biotechnologies, Inc. in March 2008, the Board has publicly disclosed that it would either pursue a strategic transaction or a series of strategic transactions or dissolve the Company. The Company has done neither. In the meantime, members of the Board have treated themselves to exorbitant cash compensation. Until July 2009, two non-employee members of the Board were paid over $300,000 per year in compensation. The principal executive officer will likely receive over $400,000 in cash compensation this year.

The VaxGen Full Value Committee comprising BA Value Investors’ Steven N. Bronson and ROI Capital Management’s Mark T. Boyer and Mitchell J. Soboleski, intends to replace the current board with directors who will focus on the following objectives:

1. Returning capital to [VXGN]’s shareholders, including an immediate distribution of $10,000,000 in cash;

2. Terminating [VXGN]’s lease with its landlord, Oyster Point Tech Center, LLC, and settling with the landlord the obligations of [VXGN] on the remaining lease payments;

3. Exploring ways to monetize [VXGN] as a “public shell,” including the utilization of [VXGN]’s Substantial Net Operating Losses; and

4. Protecting for the benefit of shareholders royalty payments receivable from the sale of [VXGN]’s intellectual property.

BA Value Investors had previously disclosed an activist holding and, in a June 12 letter to the board, called on VXGN to “act promptly to reduce the size of the board to three directors; reduce director compensation; change to a smaller audit firm; terminate the lease of its facilities; otherwise cut costs; make an immediate $10 million distribution to shareholders; make a subsequent distribution of substantially all the remaining cash after settling the lease termination; distribute any royalty income to shareholders; and explore ways to monetize the public company value of the Issuer and use of its net operating losses.”

VXGN is up 41.7% since we initiated the position. At its $0.68 close yesterday, it has a market capitalization of $22.5M. We last estimated the company’s liquidation value to be around $25.4M or $0.77 per share. VXGN has other potentially valuable assets, including a “state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility with a 1,000-liter bioreactor that can be used to make cell culture or microbial biologic products” and rights to specified percentages of future net sales relating to its anthrax vaccine product candidate and related technology. The authors of a letter sent to the board on July 14 of this year adjudge VXGN’s liquidation value to be significantly higher at $2.12 per share:

Excluding the lease obligations, the net financial assets alone of $37.2 million equate to $1.12 per share. The EBS royalties (assuming a 6% royalty rate and a $500 million contract as contemplated by NIH/HHS and EBS) of $30 million and milestones of $6 million total $36 million of potential additional future value (based clearly on assumptions, none of which are assured), or $1.09 per share. Adding $1.12 and $1.09 equals $2.21 per share.

The sale to OXGN in detail

The terms of the deal were announced by OXGN in the following press release:


Acquisition to Add Approximately $33 Million in Cash to OXiGENE’s Balance Sheet

Conference Call Today at 9:00 AM Eastern

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — OCTOBER 15, 2009 — OXiGENE, Inc. (NASDAQ: OXGN, XSSE: OXGN), a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics to treat cancer and eye diseases, and VaxGen, Inc. [OTCBB:VXGN], a biopharmaceutical company, announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which OXiGENE will acquire VaxGen in exchange for common stock of OXiGENE. Upon closing of the transaction, VaxGen will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of OXiGENE, and VaxGen stockholders will become stockholders of OXiGENE.

At the closing of the transaction, OXiGENE will issue approximately 15.6 million shares of common stock in exchange for all outstanding shares of VaxGen’s common stock. The number of shares issued at closing will be subject to adjustment if VaxGen’s net cash, as of a date shortly before the closing, as agreed by both parties, less certain expenses and liabilities, is greater or less than approximately $33.2 million. Based upon the shares of common stock of OXiGENE and VaxGen currently outstanding and assuming net cash at closing equals the target net cash, the stockholders of VaxGen would receive approximately 0.4719 shares of common stock of OXiGENE for each share of VaxGen common stock. VaxGen currently estimates that its net cash at closing may be below the target amount of net cash, depending on the timing of the closing and the amount of VaxGen expenses.

In addition to the initial shares issued to VaxGen stockholders, OXiGENE will also place approximately 8.5 million shares of its common stock in escrow to be released to VaxGen stockholders contingent upon the occurrence of certain events over the two-year period following the closing. These events relate primarily to settlement of VaxGen’s obligations under its lease of facilities in South San Francisco, and to the potential award of a procurement contract to Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE:EBS) by the U.S. Government for which VaxGen is eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments in connection with Emergent BioSolutions’ May 2008 acquisition of VaxGen’s recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine product candidate and related technology.

Immediately after the closing, VaxGen stockholders prior to the merger are expected to own approximately 20% of the outstanding shares of the combined company and OXiGENE stockholders are expected to own approximately 80%. If all of the contingent shares are released, OXiGENE anticipates having approximately 87 million shares outstanding. Under these circumstances, VaxGen stockholders prior to the merger would be expected to own approximately 28% percent of the outstanding shares of the combined company and the current OXiGENE stockholders would be expected to own approximately 72% percent, assuming no further issuances of stock by OXiGENE.

“OXiGENE’s mission is to develop new and improved therapeutics based on our vascular disrupting agent (VDA) technology that has the potential to deliver significant medical benefits to patients with cancer and sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions. We believe these programs will be significantly strengthened by the addition of approximately $33 million of cash,” said Peter Langecker, M.D., Ph.D., OXiGENE’s interim Chief Executive Officer. “This transaction represents a timely and efficient strategy to strengthen our cash position and fund operations into 2011. In addition to the benefit of an immediate infusion of significant cash which strengthens our ability to fund our clinical development programs, we believe that there is potential upside in this transaction in the form of milestones and royalties should the rPA anthrax vaccine be selected for government stockpiling. We want to welcome our prospective new stockholders and board members and look forward to their support and sharing our progress with them.”

“We believe that this merger transaction with OXiGENE represents an excellent strategy to maximize the value of VaxGen’s remaining tangible and intangible assets and to provide our stockholders with the opportunity to participate in OXiGENE’s potential success as a leader in the development of promising new agents for cancer and eye diseases,” said James Panek, President of VaxGen.

The merger agreement has been approved unanimously by the boards of directors of both OXiGENE and VaxGen. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by both OXiGENE’s and VaxGen’s stockholders. As of June 30, 2009, VaxGen’s unaudited cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities balance was approximately $36 million and its liabilities and contractual obligations consisted primarily of costs and expenses of its outstanding leases related to its former biopharmaceutical manufacturing operations located in South San Francisco, CA.

Upon the closing, two members of VaxGen’s board of directors will be appointed to OXiGENE’s board of directors: Lori F. Rafield, Ph.D., a consultant to the biotechnology industry, and Franklin M. Berger, a former biotechnology analyst.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010. OXiGENE is receiving a fairness opinion in this transaction from Houlihan Lokey, and VaxGen is receiving a fairness opinion from Aquilo Partners.

Details of the Proposed Stock-for Stock Transaction

Upon closing of the transaction, based upon the anticipated net cash balance of VaxGen at closing and the current number of OXiGENE’s common shares outstanding, OXiGENE will issue approximately 15.6 million shares of newly issued common stock, subject to adjustment as set forth in the merger agreement, in exchange for all of VaxGen’s outstanding common stock. All of VaxGen’s outstanding stock options will be canceled immediately prior to the closing and all of VaxGen’s outstanding warrants, to the extent not terminated prior to the closing, will be assumed by OXiGENE. OXiGENE will also place an additional approximately 8.5 million shares of newly issued common stock in escrow to be issued contingent upon certain occurrences over the two-year period following the closing.

Of the 8.5 million shares placed in escrow, approximately 2.7 million shares relate primarily to the potential settlement of VaxGen’s lease facility obligation. If the outstanding lease obligation and related costs are reduced either before the closing or during the two-year period following the closing, OXiGENE will release additional shares from escrow to the VaxGen stockholders depending on the amount of the lease settlement arrangements.

The remaining 5.8 million shares to be held in escrow will be released to VaxGen’s stockholders in the event that VaxGen (as a subsidiary of OXiGENE), within two years following the closing of the transaction, becomes entitled to receive a $3 million milestone payment from Emergent BioSolutions in connection with the award of a procurement contract to Emergent by the United States government for supply of rPA anthrax vaccine. In the event this milestone is achieved, OXiGENE will release from escrow approximately 1.9 million shares, plus additional shares based on the size of the contract awarded to Emergent. OXiGENE will be entitled to receive additional milestone payments based on net sales as well as royalties from sales of rPA anthrax vaccine for a period of 12 years from commercial sale, with no obligation to issue additional shares to VaxGen stockholders. If the award of the procurement contract is announced prior to the closing, VaxGen will receive credit for the $3 million milestone payment in calculating net cash at closing, and OXiGENE will issue to VaxGen stockholders at the closing additional shares based on the size of the contract awarded to Emergent.

In connection with the Merger Agreement, VaxGen entered into voting agreements with OXiGENE and certain executive officers, directors and stockholders of OXiGENE, and OXiGENE entered into voting agreements with VaxGen and certain executive officers and directors of VaxGen pursuant to which these parties agreed to vote in favor of the adoption of the merger agreement and against approval of any proposal opposing or in competition with the consummation of the Merger.

The terms of the Agreement and Plan of Merger show how badly OXGN outnegotiated the directors of VXGN.

If you’re into self-flagellation, read the transcript of the call and weep over the lack of questions about the terms of the deal or whether it’s good for VXGN’s shareholders.

Hat tip Jim Hodges.

[Full Disclosure:  We have a holding in VXGN. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only. Do your own research before investing in any security.]

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Spencer Capital Management LLC has announced that it intends to nominate an alternate slate of candidates for the board of Trident Microsystems Inc (NASDAQ:TRID). We’ve been following TRID since January 21 this year, arguing that it’s a good candidate for an activist campaign for the following reasons:

  1. It’s large for a net cash stock: As its $1.30 close yesterday, the company has a market capitalization of $83M. That puts it into the strike zone for funds with around $100M under management.
  2. It’s deeply undervalued: We estimate its liquidation value is around $167M or $2.66 per share, which is more than 100% higher than its close yesterday.
  3. Its value is predominantly cash: TRID is trading at half net cash value of approximately $155M or $2.48 per share.
  4. Its stock is liquid enough: According to TRID’s Google Finance page, the average volume for the stock is more than 530,000 shares per day. It traded more than 655,000 yesterday. With 63M shares on issue, an investor seeking ~5% of TRID needs a few more than 3M shares, which should be readily achievable in a reasonably short period of time.
  5. Management holds a vanishingly small number of shares and are net sellers.

Spencer Capital Management is a “New York-based fund advisor that specializes in deep value investing” headed by Kenneth H. Shubin Stein, MD, CFA. We’re not sure how much stock Spencer Capital Management holds. TRID doesn’t seem to feature in its most recent Form 13F and no 13D has been filed since December 31, 2008, the end of the period covered by the Form 13F. The investor’s press release reads as follows:


Effort Aimed At Strengthening Corporate Governance And Repositioning Struggling Technology Company

Spencer Capital Management LLC, a New York-based investment partnership, announced today its intention to put forth a slate of candidates for election to the board of Trident Microsystems, Inc. (TRID). Trident Microsystems, based in Santa Clara, California, is a designer of integrated circuits for the digital television market.

Kenneth H. Shubin Stein, MD, CFA, and founder of Spencer Capital Management is leading the effort to restructure the board with an aim towards improving corporate governance and repositioning the company.

“This is a company whose revenue has deteriorated significantly, product line has lost ground and business model is under enormous pressure,” said Dr. Shubin Stein. “We intend to run a slate of candidates whose interests will be aligned with shareholders and who have the investing and technological expertise to effectively analyze the assets of the company and maximize their value. We encourage all shareholders to reach out to us to further discuss this proposal.”

Hat tip to JM.

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