AstraZeneca buying Ardea in $1.26 bln deal

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LONDON (AP) — Anglo-Swedish drug company AstraZeneca PLC is buying Ardea Biosciences, Inc., in a deal which values the U.S. biotech company at $1.26 billion.

AstraZeneca said Monday that it had agreed the takeover with San Diego-based Ardea, which is developing a treatment for elevated blood levels of uric acid in patients with gout.

AstraZeneca is paying $32 per share, representing a 54 percent premium on the closing share price last Friday.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, and AstraZeneca says it has secured commitments from 30 percent of Ardea shareholders.

AstraZeneca says the deal is expected to close by the end of September.

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