Does Daiichi want full control of Ranbaxy?

Is Daiichi Sankyo plotting to take over Ranbaxy Laboratories completely? Indian media is reporting that the Japanese drugmaker wants to buy out the 36 percent of Ranbaxy it doesn't already own and then meld the two companies together. But Ranbaxy denies the news: "There are no plans to delist the firm," a company spokesman says.

Daiichi bought a majority stake in Ranbaxy in 2008 to gain a foothold in generics and in emerging markets. Since then, the Indian company has had its share of difficulties: It ran afoul of U.S. regulators, losing the right to import some 30 medications manufactured in India, and still awaits approval to resume selling those drugs in the world's largest pharma market.

More recently, Ranbaxy failed to get approval for its version of the prostate drug Flomax in time to take full advantage of its 180-day exclusivity period. And its U.S. subsidiary Ohm Laboratories has been tussling with the FDA over good manufacturing practices, too.

Meanwhile, Daiichi has sought to tighten the reins on Ranbaxy. The Japanese company replaced Ranbaxy chief Malvinder Singh and dispatched one of its own quality control types to the Indian operation. But might that tightening-up result in a full takeover of its subsidiary? If so, neither Ranbaxy nor Daiichi is ready to talk about the possibility; on top of Ranbaxy's denial, Daiichi officials pooh-poohed the notion themselves.

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