Is Pfizer still in the Ratiopharm race?

There's some news on the Ratiopharm deal that fills in some details--and throws others into question. Sources tell Dow Jones that the company will decide next week which two prospective buyers will progress to the final round of bidding. And as those sources tell it, there are four bidders still in the contest: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Pfizer, Actavis and the private equity group EQT.

Recently, sources said that Pfizer had dropped out of the Ratiopharm race. And news reports paired Actavis and EQT in a joint bid. But, according to the new Dow Jones story, Actavis and EQT had submitted separate bids for Ratiopharm; whether they're planning to team up on a final bid is unclear. And Dow Jones hears that Pfizer's still in the running.

Ratiopharm is the generics maker owned by Adolf Merckle's family. They are trying to offload the company to raise money to pay off debts. The bidding has been going on for some months now, and until the sellers announce the bidders that might still nab the company, there's no way of knowing for sure. If an announcement is due early next week, then we won't have long to wait.

- read the Dow Jones piece