The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked Roche Holding Ltd.and Syntex Corp. for more information under the Hart-Scott-RodinoAntitrust Improvements Act before Roche's proposed $5.3 billionacquisition of Syntex can be approved.In May, Basel, Switzerland-based Roche announced that it planned tomake Syntex its wholly-owned subsidiary by purchasing all of itscommon shares for $24 each _ 57 percent above the going rate at thetime. So far, Roche has acquired only 96 million common shares ofSyntex _ 43 percent of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's 221million outstanding shares. Roche needs to hold at least 50.1 percent ofthe Syntex's shares for the deal to go through.Claudia Bourne Farrell, acting director of the FTC's office of publicaffairs, said it is standard procedure for the FTC to review mergers"between companies of a certain size" for compliance with the antitrustact. She said these reviews involve no suggestion that anything iswrong with the deal.The original expiration date for Roche's offer to buy Syntex shares wasMonday. Roche has now extended the deadline for its tender offer untilmidnight July 1, 1994. The deadline may have to be extended again,since the FTC's request extends the waiting period under the Act until10 days following substantial compliance with the request by Roche,unless the waiting period is terminated sooner by the FTC. This meansthat the acquisition will be delayed for an indefinite period. _ PhilippaMaister

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.