Stada CEO discovers he's under surveillance as deal action heats up

Stada's CEO reportedly discovered a recording device in his vehicle and received anonymous photographs depicting himself in personal and business situations. Photo courtesy of Stada.

Amid a flurry of deal action for German drugmaker Stada, local media report that CEO Matthias Wiedenfels was targeted in a spying operation.

Wiedenfels discovered a recording device in his car and received photographs of himself in personal or private business situations, according to Manager Magazin. The alleged spying happened in the second half of 2016.

Stada declined to comment on the developments, according to the magazine.

RELATED: Hot buyout target Stada rolls out cost-cutting measures, new financial forecasts to draw higher bids

The news comes as takeover talks have intensified for the German generics firm, with private equity firms, Chinese pharma companies and Mylan Pharmaceuticals all rumored to be interested in a takeout. Last month, Boston private equity outfit Advent International offered up $3.7 billion, but Stada plans to continue entertaining offers.

Earlier this month, the drugmaker trotted out higher sales forecasts and a cost-cutting strategy in an attempt to draw higher bids. Stada now expects €2.65 billion to €2.7 billion in 2019 sales, up from the €2.6 billion it was previously predicting.

RELATED: Stada's first real bidder has put up a $3.7B offer. Will a bidding war follow?

It’s also making changes in manufacturing and purchasing to take advantage of “significant savings potential.” There’s plenty of reason for potential suitors to be interested in the German drugmaker. With a three-year average operating profit margin lagging most of the generics industry at 11%, a buyer could eke out value by breaking up the business, streamlining its operations or laying off employees.