Now it's Teva vs. Actavis for Ratiopharm

Is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries going to win the Ratiopharm prize? TheMarker reports that Pfizer has dropped out of the bidding for the German drugmaker, leaving Teva competing only with the private equity firm EQT Partners. And if media reports are to be believed, Teva would be the natural winner of that contest.

Previously, media had quoted sources discounting EQT's ability to compete price-wise for Ratiopharm. That's because it's on the hook to deliver investor return, and it can't save money by combining operations and cutting redundancies as a drugmaker-buyer like Teva could.

But Reuters reports today that EQT is backing Iceland's generics giant Actavis--which would make it a generics maker vs. generics maker match-up. That's an entirely different species of bidding contest, because both of the companies could conceivably streamline operations post-buyout. But Teva has greater financial wherewithal, analysts tell Reuters, and would likely benefit more from potential cost cuts at Ratiopharm.

In fact, the Actavis-EQT combo has pledged to protect jobs in the Nordic region, and that's gaining brownie points for them. But only the Ratiopharm folks know how much that might sway their decision. Bids do look set to reach 3 billion euros, or $4.17 billion, as the selling Merckle family had hoped.

- see the Bloomberg story
- get more from Reuters