Sources: Valeant eyes Meda for potential $4.4B deal

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is on the hunt again. The Canadian drugmaker has approached Swedish specialty pharma Meda about a deal, sources close to the companies are saying. With a current market value of about $3.4 billion, Meda could fetch up to $4.4 billion with a typical premium of 30%, the Wall Street Journal figures.

If it goes at all, that is. Media reports stress that the approach could amount to nothing. In fact, Meda took the trouble to issue a statement denying a bid. "Meda's board of directors has not received an approach of the kind that is described," the company said. And Meda Chairman Bert Ake Eriksson, who's the top executive at the company's biggest shareholder, Stena, told Reuters that Valeant hadn't approached him or Stena about a deal.

The last time a potential multibillion-dollar Valeant bid hit the news, it was Cephalon in the company's sights, and that merger ended up going to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $6.8 billion, some $1 billion more than Valeant had offered. Two weeks ago, Valeant had more success: It struck a $345 million deal for Janssen Pharmaceuticals' Ortho Dermatologics business. The Canadian company aims to grow by acquisition, rather than by developing its own new drugs in-house.

It's unclear at this point whether the talks between Valeant and Meda have progressed much. But the two companies have a pre-existing relationship. Meda bought Valeant's European operations in 2008, before Valeant merged with Canada's Biovail, and Valeant licensed two dermatology products from Meda just within the last month, in a deal worth up to $130 million over the next 18 months.

- find the statement from Meda
- see the New York Times story
- get more from the Wall Street Journal
- check out the Bloomberg piece
- read the Reuters piece

ALSO: Valeant's recent deal for Lithuania's Sanitas brought with it the Polish manufacturer Jelfa, which is now subject to a warning letter from FDA about quality control shortfalls. Report