UPDATE 1-Alexion Pharmaceuticals rejects Elliott push for “proactive sale”

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(Reuters) – Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc (ALXN.O) said on Friday its board of directors had unanimously decided against hedge fund Elliott Management’s push for a “proactive sale” process, saying it would not be in the best interest of shareholders.

Shares of the U.S. drugmaker rose 5.7% to $113.50 before the bell after it said it took into account the hedge fund’s views, but concluded it was “highly unusual, if not unprecedented” for a company of its size to proactively launch a sale process.

However, Alexion agreed with Elliot Management, which has for years been pushing for more action to boost stock price, that the market was substantially undervaluing its business.

“To eliminate confusion and inaccurate information in the marketplace, to-date, Alexion has not received any indications of interest to acquire the company nor have we rejected any such inbound proposals,” the company said in a statement.

Alexion said since 2017, it had added five new directors, including a new chief executive officer, with input from investors including Elliott.

The company has been pushing to maintain its leadership in treating certain rare blood disorders and has embarked on a string of acquisitions to boost its pipeline of rare disease drugs. It is targeting at least 10 additional launches by 2023.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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