Paper: Few bids for Solvay drugs unit

That sigh of disappointment you heard last Friday? It was Solvay bemoaning a lack of interest in its pharmaceuticals unit, or so we hear. AstraZeneca was the sole bidder, and only for part of the business, the Belgian newspaper De Tijd reports (via IguanaBio). Novartis, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline sniffed around the deal but pulled out. So did Sanofi-Aventis, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Abbott Laboratories, the newspaper reports.

Merger Market told De Tijd that AstraZeneca made an offer for Solvay's cardiovascular meds and its vaccine business. A company spokesman said that it wasn't interested in the entire pharma division, but wouldn't comment on a potential bid for pieces of it. There's no word on how much AstraZeneca bid for those assets, either.

So what's next for Solvay? Mark van der Geest, an analyst with Fortis Bank Nederland, told De Tijd that he expects the company to hang onto the pharma unit for awhile longer. The company also might consider spinning off that division with a public stock offering, van der Geest said.

- read the IguanaBio post