Meda responds to Sun buyout reports with firm 'no deal'

Sun Pharmaceutical's purported buyout talks with Meda AB? The Swedish drugmaker says it's actually not talking to Sun or anyone else about a sale. The company was apparently fed up with questions about Sun's interest, and decided to publicly counter the rumors.

"Due to the recent speculation in the press and news media concerning Meda merging with another pharmaceutical company, we have decided to inform the market that there are currently no such discussions," the company said in a statement (as quoted by Reuters). The company's stock fell 5% on the news.

Sun Pharma may well have been trying to buy Meda. Reuters' sources said that the Indian drugmaker had been scouting for bank financing for a deal but got bogged down in a disagreement over Meda's value. Meda's current market cap is about $4 billion; Sun was eyeing a $5 billion to $6 billion bid, the news service reports. Sweden's Olsson family holds about 22% of Meda's shares and would be key to making a deal.

The potential deal would have fallen right into line with recent mergers in the industry. Last week, Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) said it would pay $8.7 billion for Bausch & Lomb, to broaden its offerings in the ophthalmology business. And the week before that, Actavis agreed to buy Warner Chilcott for $5 billion, pumping up its branded business and market reach.

Meda would bring Sun Pharma a bigger footprint in developed markets, particularly the U.S., and a stable of over-the-counter and specialty drugs. Sun has been working to expand into branded meds, particularly in specialty areas; the company bought DUSA Pharmaceuticals last year, and snapped up Takeda's U.S. generics business as well.

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