Pfizer approaches Sanofi target Medivation to talk takeover

Ian Read

Tuesday, Pfizer CEO Ian Read told investors on a conference call that if it went after another deal, it would be one that could bolster its innovative products business--especially with already on-market assets.

Ring any bells? It should. Later that day, Reuters reported that the New York giant had approached California’s Medivation, a current Sanofi target that’s made headlines the last few weeks on rumors that Big Pharma rivals AstraZeneca and Novartis could also jump into the fray.

Pfizer’s interest comes less than a week after the French drugmaker took its $52.50 per share proposal public, griping that Medivation wouldn’t come to the dealmaking table. But Medivation struck it down on claims that the bid—worth $9.3 billion—substantially undervalued the company.

With Pfizer, though, Medivation hasn’t yet made up its mind, the news service notes, and it’s talking with financial and legal advisors to help it decide. There’s also no certainty that Pfizer would forge ahead with an offer, sources say.

Meanwhile, Sanofi is sitting tight on its current offer, waiting for Medivation to jump-start an auction to sell itself.

Pfizer has been trying for awhile now to beef up its innovative products side ahead of a potential two-way company split. But so far, Pfizer done so by chasing megamergers, and two attempts have been thwarted--one by the desired partner itself, AstraZeneca; and one by the U.S. Treasury, which rolled out new tax rules that last month scuttled an already agreed-upon transaction with Allergan.

Adding Medivation to its stable could help Pfizer do just that. The company’s quick-launching prostate cancer pill Xtandi--a med it shares with Astellas--raked in $1.9 billion worldwide last year, and analysts expect it to eventually overtake first-to-market nemesis Zytiga from Johnson & Johnson.

Sanofi, though--and AstraZeneca, if rumors of its interest are true--may have extra motivation to get a deal done. Both behemoths are working to turn their revenues around, and both have tabbed the oncology space as an area for expansion.

- get more from Reuters

Special Report: Top 15 Drug Launch Superstars - Xtandi - Medivation and Astellas Pharma 

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