With bids due today, Solvay mulls options

Will Solvay--or won't it? Preliminary offers for its pharmaceutical unit are due today, Reuters reports, which means we could know fairly soon whether the Belgian company will go ahead with a sale. Solvay hired Citigroup to take a look at various options for its pharma unit; everything from growing the business via acquisitions to selling it off completely.

And you'll recall that Sanofi-Aventis reportedly approached Solvay about buying the pharma business. Among other interested parties, sources tell Reuters, is Novartis. Analysts tagged Bayer as another potential buyer. Companies that aren't bidding: Abbott Laboratories, Solvay's TriCor partner; and Takeda Pharmaceutical, which denied reports that it was interested in a deal.

Another question appears to be whether Solvay will be broken up for sale or go to one buyer lock, stock and barrel. The company has a flu-vaccine business--Solvay Biologicals--that could be very attractive to some buyers, especially in the midst of a global outbreak of novel flu, the news service said.

- read the Reuters story
- check out Takeda's denial of interest, also from Reuters