Rumors: Teva sets its sights on Shire

Is Teva on Shire's trail? The rumors are flying thick and fast enough that analysts are theorizing about Shire's potential defensive moves. The Jerusalem Post earlier this week reported that Shire shares are up 9 percent since Aug. 5 on deal talk. And today, Reuters says the buzz about a Teva-Shire merger is strong, despite the fact that it would run some $10 billion--a record-size acquisition for Teva.

Company officials declined comment. But earlier this summer Teva chief Shlomo Yanai said he was on the lookout for another "major" acquisition and that he might look beyond generics to make that deal.

Analysts said that Shire is an attractive prospect for Teva (and other companies, incidentally). "It's aggressive but Teva has bought large companies before," Excellence Nessuah analyst Gilad Alper told Reuters. "They have showed a lot of skill in digesting large companies. Shire would be more complicated ... but it would not be overly ambitious."

Anticipating a Shire defense, however, Canaccord Adams analysts told the Post that the U.K. firm could take over Actelion--the Swiss company that makes the lung drug Tracleer and Gaucher disease remedy Zavesca--in a bid to fend Teva off.

- read the Jerusalem Post story
- see the news from Reuters