Solvay buy could beef up Nycomed for IPO

Well, two out of three ain't bad. Abbott Laboratories denied any interest in snapping up Solvay Pharmaceuticals assets, leaving Nycomed and an unnamed Japanese drugmaker as the last two rumored-slash-potential buyers. But one buyer is all it takes to make a deal. And for all we know, Solvay wasn't interested in offloading just TriCor (its drug-in-partnership-with-Abbott) or any of the other assets Abbott was said to be eyeing.

Meanwhile, Nycomed is apparently very, very interested, and not just because Solvay's drugs would complement its own. A Solvay deal would beef up Nycomed to about €6 billion ($8.4 billion) in sales. It would make the Swiss company more diversified, with drugs in the gastrointestinal, CNS, and cardiac areas. The combined drugmaker would also have operations in Europe and in the über-desirable emerging markets.

All of which is to say that, combined with Solvay, Nycomed has a better chance of floating an IPO, Bloomberg reports. That would be a major bonus for Nycomed's two major shareholders, the private-equity fund Nordic Capital and a buyout unit of Credit Suisse. An IPO would let those two cash out and repay their investors, collecting their share of the profits along the way.

Nycomed considered going public before, but market conditions weren't cooperating. So the company hired Goldman Sachs to test the waters for a takeover. Then, in May, Nycomed said it wasn't for sale, and said it was planning an IPO sometime soon, depending. Sources told Bloomberg that the company could finance a Solvay purchase with debt, then recoup that expense by cutting costs at the combined company and then selling out.

- read the Bloomberg piece
- see the story in the Wall Street Journal