Turkish drugmaker wooed by GSK, Pfizer, Bloomberg says

Need more proof that Turkey is pharma's latest promised land? Three Big Pharmas are said to be circling the Turkish drugmaker MN Pharmaceuticals. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Pfizer ($PFE) are among the companies eyeing a bid for the company, formally known as Mustafa Nevzat Ilac Sanayii, Bloomberg reports. Mylan ($MYL) and Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) are also in the fray, Bloomberg's sources said.

Lilly has been chatting with MN Pharma's leadership for months about a minority investment in the company, which makes generic drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients. In fact, Lilly's interest may have inspired MN Pharma's founding family to explore its options; the company tapped Bank of America Merrill Lynch for advice, and now, nonbinding bids are coming in, Bloomberg said.

Last fall, a Bloomberg analysis found that dealmaking in Turkey was growing faster than in any of the other major emerging markets, including the pharma darlings China and India. Potential pharma sales were generating a lot of interest, if not a lot of completed deals; GSK was said to be bidding against a couple of multinationals for Biofarma, while a piece of Abdi Ibrahim Ilaç was also up for sale. A couple of acquisitions and stake sales did go through, however, including Recordati's purchase of Frik Ilac for $130 million.

Whether the MN Pharma deal will come to fruition remains to be seen. The family may not have decided yet whether to sell a majority or minority stake, and they're looking for a valuation of 15 to 20 times EBITDA. Bloomberg pegs the potential deal size at $1 billion. The question is whether these drugmakers figure turning MN Pharma into a Turkish springboard would be worth it.

- see the Bloomberg story