Pfizer, Teva lead race for Ratiopharm

In the fight for Ratiopharm, the field has narrowed to three. But only two of those--Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries--have any real shot at closing in on a deal, the German business newspaper Handelsblatt reports.

Quoting sources close to the deal, Handelsblatt says the three remaining bidders have to submit binding offers by early next month. The price is expected to fall between 2.8 billion euros to 3 billion euros, or $4.03 billion to $4.31 billion, the sources say. Closing would then follow sometime this quarter, they add.

The third bidder--the private equity firm EQT--is more or less out of the running because it can't afford to pay as high a price as either Pfizer or Teva, which, as drugmakers themselves, would be able to cut overlapping costs at Ratiopharm after a deal closes. Plus, the drugmakers stand to benefit more from the addition of Ratiopharm's assets to their current operations. To EQT, the deal would be a straight investment, not a synergistic merger.

That's what the financial types say, anyway. But until the bids are counted, there's no way of knowing for sure.

- get the Handelsblatt news
- see the article from Reuters