Last week, the chatter was that GlaxoSmithKline might buy a chunk of India's Dr. Reddy's Labs. Makes sense; GSK has been on an emerging-markets push for some time. But it appears that Glaxo is spreading its acquisition net a tad bit wider than that. LiveMint reports today that the drugmaker hired investment bank Lazard & Co. to evaluate potential buyouts on the subcontinent.
Lazard has reportedly narrowed the search to two companies. And yes, Dr. Reddy's is one of them. The second is Piramal Healthcare, which has been rumored as a potential Glaxo buy since early this year. Both Indian companies' shares have been jumping up and down on the deal rumors, and on separate-but-related talk that Glaxo might make a marketing deal with Dr. Reddy's on its four-way combo heart drug, the Red Heart Pill. Piramal is denying, however, that it's interested in a buyout. Dr. Reddy's wouldn't comment, and nor would GSK.
If LiveMint's investment-banking sources are correct, then Glaxo is seriously scouting India for buys. No big surprise, given its previous forays there and in other developing markets. But all we can say about the specific deal talk now is that it's still, well, talk. We'll keep our ears to the ground.