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Pfizer may thwart Daiichi Sankyo, make a play for Ranbaxy


NEW YORK According to the Business Standard, Pfizer may make a hostile bid for Ranbaxy Laboratories, countering an agreed takeover by Daiichi Sankyo, as reported by Bloomberg. Pfizer may offer to buy the 65 percent of Ranbaxy that’s not held by the founding Singh family, the paper said.

Daiichi Sankyo agreed on June 11 to pay as much as $4.6 billion for Ranbaxy to enter the generic-drug market where sales are growing twice as fast as branded medicines.

Daiichi, Japan’s third-largest drugmaker, agreed to buy the entire 34.8 percent held by Ranbaxy’s billionaire chief executive officer Malvinder Singh and his family and a portion of about $1 billion of preferential stock Ranbaxy will issue. The sale will trigger a mandatory offer for 20 percent more from shareholders under Indian takeover rules.

Pfizer, which negotiated with Ranbaxy’s founders about a year ago for their holding in the company, may make an offer to purchase 41.3 percent of the company from institutions and 21.2 percent from individual shareholders, the newspaper said.

“I can’t comment on the matter,” said Kewal Handa, the managing director of Pfizer Ltd., the Indian unit of Pfizer. “We don’t comment on market speculation.”

Ranbaxy is trying to win the right to sell a version of Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor before the patent expires in 2010. On April 30, Pfizer said the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will confirm the basic patent for its cholesterol medication, rejecting Ranbaxy’s challenge, but by buying its competition, Pfizer could save a lot of money.

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