CPEX sale vote set for March 24

CPEX Pharmaceuticals shareholders will be able to vote on March 24 to decide whether the company should be sold for $27.25 a share.According to a Feb. 4 filing, those holding shares as of Feb. 1 will be able to vote their proxy or show up themselves at Goodwin Procter LLP, Exchange Place, 53 State St. in Boston, to approve selling the Exeter-based firm to the subsidiary of a bankrupt New Jersey shoe company.About a fifth of the company’s 2.6 million outstanding shares are already locked up by board members and executives who have pledged to support the deal and stand to gain $22 million if it’s approved. The company would lose $1.9 million if the deal is rejected.But The Mangrove Fund, one of the firm’s largest shareholders, has gone on record opposing the deal, maintaining that shareholders could do better if CPEX instead paid dividends from a deal that would keep royalties flowing from Testim, a testosterone gel that is the company’s only product.CPEX, however, said that it had already considered such an alternative.CPEX spun off from Bentley Pharmaceuticals in the summer of 2008 with shares selling for about half of the proposed sale price. CPEX’s main interest to investors at the time was its potential to develop Nasulin, a nasal insulin spray, but the product was abandoned after clinical trials faltered, and another large shareholder attempted a hostile takeover bid that later failed. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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